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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday September 23, 2023

Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari notched her biggest career title in Guadalajara, claiming her first title since 2019.

Photo Source: TTV

The excruciating wait for a second career title is over for Maria Sakkari.

The 28-year-old Greek, a former World No.3 and a perennial Top-10 talent, defeated American Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday at Guadalajara for her first 1000-level title and her first trophy lift since the spring of 2019.

Tennis Express

“We’ve waited more than four years for a second title,” an emotional Sakkari said during the trophy ceremony. “We’ve heard many bad things, that I would never win a title, that I’m a top-5 player but with only winning one title – that was very hard for me to overcome, and I’m so happy I did it here this week.”

Sakkari was in dominant form all week – she dropped just 28 games and never lost a set during her run – and becomes the first Greek woman to ever win a 1000 title.

She was tested early and often by the 111-ranked Dolehide, who hit back from a break down to level at four-all, in the opening set. But Sakkari was up to the task, as she had been all week. She won the final two games of the set and broke in the fifth game of the second set to inch closer to victory.

The Greek held serve twice to get within a game of the title, then broke Dolehide at 15 to close out her title.

Sakkari snapps a six-match losing streak in WTA finals and will rise from No.9 to No.6 in the WTA rankings on Monday as a result of her triumph.

Dolehide is set to make her Top-50 debut after winning five matches in succession for the first time at tour-level. She was on point with her sledgehammer forehand and big kick serves all week, as she became the second lowest-ranked WTA 1000 finalist since the format began in 2009.

But it was Sakkari’s moment to savor. She has been through the ringer in 2023, and was in tears in New York after she finished her Grand Slam season with her third consecutive first-round loss at the majors.

Playing with a smile on her face and a positive attitude, Sakkari embraced the intense atmosphere in Guadalajara with open arms, and told the crowd repeatedly that the city felt like her second home.

She’ll look forward to coming back in 2024, with a lifetime record of 9-1 at the venue and her biggest, most emotional title in tow.


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