Maria Sakkari used her strong first serve to extend her dominance over former Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek with a 6-2, 6-4 win on Thursday in their opening match at the WTA Finals.
26-year-old Sakkari, who is having a very successful year, this year beat Swiatek in two sets in the quarter-finals of the French Open and in the semi-finals in Ostrava. Sakkari started the year in 21st place and, although she has not won a title this season, she reached the final in Ostrava and the semifinals at the US Open, Roland Garros and Miami to become the first Greek woman to qualify for the finals. WTA.
Swiatek, who won titles in Adelaide and Rome in 2021, is also making his season-ending tournament debut.
“Yes, I think it was a very solid match on my side. Obviously my serve really helped my game. Felt pretty good with the altitude. I was able to control my shots quite well. I think every day I will feel even better, “Sakkari said.
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Sakkari won 26 of the first 27 points on the first serve and beat the opponent in the third and seventh game of the first set. He then broke again to a 4-3 lead in the second.
“I think finding the right way to serve here is probably the key. You have set a point the way you want. Definitely, I mean, having a percentage like that helps your game a lot, ”Sakkari added.
Aryna Sabalenka, seeded number one, will play no. 7 Paula Badosa following Thursday.
All players must adapt their game to the almost 1500 meters of altitude of Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico.
The tournament, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, features a group stage ahead of the semi-finals. world n. 1 Ash Barty from Australia does not participate due to travel and quarantine restrictions.
The WTA Finals are played in Guadalajara for this year only, with the event returning to Shenzhen, China in 2022.