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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday October 31, 2022

 
Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari is off to a fast start after notching a straight-set win over Jessica Pegula at the WTA Finals.

Photo Source: Matthew Stockman/ Getty

Maria Sakkari was the last player to qualify for this year’s WTA Finals when she notched a clutch, winner-take-all victory over Veronika Kudermetova at Guadalajara.

Tennis Express

Two weeks later the Greek is the first to earn a victory at the tour’s prestigious season-ending event.

Sakkari edged past American Jessica Pegula, the World No.3, 7-6(6), 7-6(4) to move to the top of the Nancy Richey Group in Fort Worth, which also includes Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka.

It was a solid performance from the World No.5, who converted her third set point in the opening set tiebreaker, and then shook off squandering two match points with Pegula serving at 5-6 in the second set to clinch her triumph in the second-set tiebreak.

Sakkari entered the match with a 5-9 record in tiebreakers on the season and an 0-2 record against the top-5.

“I didn't know that but it came a little bit late in the season, but at least it came,” she said of her top-5 victory.


Sakkari, who has reached four finals in 2022, but has yet to win a title this season, believes her game is finally on track after a difficult stretch.

“I just turned things around last week and I'm gaining confidence,” she said. “You know, finding my form again. I think it's good for this tournament but also for next season and I'm very excited to keep playing good tennis this week.”

Sakkari improves to 38-22 on the season and 4-2 against Pegula, avenging her loss to the American in the Guadalajara final on October 24.

Pegula drops to 42-19 on the season. The American has been one of the biggest success stories on tour in 2022 – she was ranked 21 in the world this time last year, but comes in at No.3 after winning her biggest career title at Gaudalajara. She has also reached the quarterfinals at three of the four Grand Slams.

Pegula will take the doubles court later this evening along with Coco Gauff against Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China.

 

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