Greek Maria Sakkari and American Caroline Dolehide qualified for the final of the WTA 1000 tennis tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday, beating Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia and American Sofia Kenin respectively in the semi-finals.
Sakkari, 9th in the world and seeded No.2, had no difficulty eliminating Garcia in two sets (6-3, 6-0) and 1h11 of play.
Without having conceded a single set since the start of the tournament, Sakkari reached the Guadalajara final for the second time, which she lost last year to the American Jessica Pegula. This will be his first match against Dolehide, 111th in the world.
For the Greek, a victory would be the culmination of a checkered season, marked in particular by an elimination in the first round of the US Open.
“I said from day one that I felt this was THE week,” said Sakkari, who will attempt to win his first title on Saturday since the Morocco Open in 2019. “This is where I was going overcome many obstacles and difficult emotions.
“I don't want to look back on the US Open because it's in the past, but I'm so happy to be back in the final, I couldn't have asked for anything better,” Sakkari continued.
The Greek made only three unforced errors in the first set and took control of the game by breaking to lead 3-1.
She broke Garcia to open the second set in a game where the Frenchwoman led 40-15, then repelled three break points to increase her lead to 4-0.
“My goal today was to smile, enjoy, come out here and have fun. Because these are emotions that I haven’t felt for a long time,” said Sakkari.
“I’m going to have the same goal tomorrow,” she promised.
The Frenchwoman, 11th in the world and seeded N.3, lost the opportunity to win the 12th title of her career.
In the other semi-final, Caroline Dolehide had previously defeated former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin (world No.53) in two sets (7-5, 6-3) and 1h25 of play.
Trailing 4-2 in the first set, Dolehide rallied and won three games in a row before winning the set. Same scenario in the second set where, trailing 3-1, she won five consecutive games and saved five break points before winning on her first match point.
Caroline Dolehide, 25, is the third unseeded finalist at a WTA 1000 tournament this year, after Karolina Muchova in Cincinnati and Barbora Krejcikova in Dubai. She is also the second finalist in a WTA 1000 tournament not to be among the world's top 100 since the format's introduction in 2009.
“I feel like this is the biggest victory of my career. I am very proud of myself and my team. But the work is not finished and I am looking forward to tomorrow, because I have never participated in such an important final,” said Dolehide.