WTA Finals 2021: Anett Kontaveit outlasts Maria Sakkari to set up final against Garbine Muguruza
Anett Kontaveit will face Garbine Muguruza in the final of the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara after both women battled through the semi-finals in contrasting fashion
Anett Kontaveit will face Garbine Muguruza in the final of the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara after both women battled through the semi-finals in contrasting fashion Tuesday.
Sixth seed Muguruza overpowered Spanish compatriot Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final before the eighth-seeded Estonian Kontaveit needed three sets to down Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in just over two hours.
It means two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza will face Kontaveit in a rematch of their group game from earlier in the tournament. Muguruza defeated Kontaveit in straight sets when the two met on Sunday.
Against Badosa on Tuesday, Muguruza raced through the first set in just 35 minutes to seize the lead, but was made to work harder in the second.
Badosa paid the price for a loss of composure at crucial moments, notably in the third game of the second set when she squandered three break points.
Instead, Muguruza held for a 3-0 lead and with Badosa appearing increasingly annoyed with her performance, the result was never in doubt.
Badosa held serve in the fourth game to make it 3-1.
But a wild pulled return from Badosa allowed Muguruza to hold for a 4-1 lead, and Badosa was soon in trouble in the next game, going 0-40 down after two wild returns and a double-fault.
She rallied superbly to hold serve however, saving four break points, but the reprieve was only temporary.
The next two games went with serve to leave Muguruza serving for the match at 5-3.
Although Badosa took a 0-30 lead, Muguruza regrouped and claimed victory when Badosa sent a return into the net on match point.
In the late semi-final, Kontaveit had looked to be poised for a brisk victory after racing through the first set 6-1.
But the durable Sakkari battled back to take the second to level the match to set up a decider.
Kontaveit showed great character in the final set however, saving eight game points to break Sakkari for a 5-3 lead before serving out for the match.
Tennis Australia (TA), which organises the Australian Open, says players only need to test if they have Covid symptoms.
Muguruza said with her team isolating she had to train by herself for a fortnight and while that normally doesn't bother her, it was not ideal in the pre-season.
Rafael Nadal survived an epic 28-minute tiebreak to seal his spot in the quarter-finals and top seed Ashleigh Barty joined him with victory over giant-killer Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.