Paula Badosa started off slowly but won 10 matches in a row, beating Arina Sabalenko 6-4, 6-0 in the first leg of the WTA Finals.
World No. 2, Sabalenca, dominated early in the match and took a 4-2 lead, but Badosa recovered and won four straight games, winning the first set and then controlling the second with three breaks.
Sabalenko, who has won titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid this season, is the first seeded in Mexico as world number one Ash Barty of Australia chose not to defend her title in the WTA final due to continued travel restrictions and quarantines related to COVID. 19.
Bados is experiencing a breakout season after starting the year in 70th place. In the next match, the Spaniard will face Maria Sakkari, who used her strong first serve to solidify her 6-2.6 lead over former French Open champion Iga Svyatek. 4 wins earlier Thursday.
Sakkari, 26, who also had a breakthrough year, also beat Sviatek in a row this year in the French Open quarterfinals and the Ostrava semi-finals.
Sakkari became the first Greek woman to qualify for the WTA final.
Svetek, who won titles in Adelaide and Rome in 2021, will also make her final tournament debut.
“Yes, I think it was a very good match on my part. Obviously my pitch really helped my game. I felt pretty good at the height. I controlled my shots pretty well. I think I will feel even better every day, ”Sakkari said.
Sakkari won 26 of the first 27 points on her first serve and broke her opponent in the third and seventh games of the first set. Then she took the lead again with a score of 4: 3 in the second.
“I think finding the right way to minister here is probably the key. You set the point the way you want. I definitely mean that having this percentage helps your game a lot, ”added Sakkari.
Results, achievements: Maria Sakkari from Igi Svyatek 6-2, 6-4; Paula Badosa Arina Sabalenko 6-4, 6-0…