World No. 8 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia continued her blazing form at the WTA Finals Guadalajara overcoming No.4 seed from Greece Maria Sakkari 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the final and set up a title clash with former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the elite year-end tournament.
The 25-year-old Kontaveit is now a perfect 7-0 in semifinals this year and finds herself on the verge of a third consecutive title and fifth overall, which will tie her with world No.1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia for the most this season.
“I still can’t quite believe that I’m even here and I’m playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament,” Kontaveit told wtatennis.com on Wednesday (IST). “I’m just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in.”
The final will be a rematch of the final round-robin encounter in the ‘Teotihuacan group’, which Muguruza won 6-4, 6-4 to snap Kontaveit’s 12-match winning streak. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 3-2. This is the first time since the 2016 WTA Finals that the finalists came from the same group. That year, Slovak Dominika Cibulkova defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber after losing to the German in group play.
Kontaveit’s win over Sakkari is her tour-leading 39th hardcourt win of the season. The loss drops Sakkari to 1-7 in semifinals this season.
“I think the turning point in the third set maybe when I went a break down, 3-2, just managed to tell myself that if this is the last match of the season, then I might as well enjoy it,” Kontaveit said. “I feel like I got some freedom from that and just started playing better and managed to turn that set around.
“I feel like the last few months have really showed me that I can play really well, I can beat great players consistently,” Kontaveit said. “I think I sort of have this self-belief now. When I came here, of course, I had nothing to lose. Every time I step on the court, I still think I can win the match, just do well.”
Sakkari said it was a tough loss to swallow.
“Today was a missed opportunity from my side. It’s definitely from my side. Obviously there’s a lot of respect from my side to Anett’s game. I think today I was just very close to taking that chance. I just wasted it,” said Sakkari.