Maria Sakkari: WTA Finals place awarded to Greece’s tennis trailblazer

Maria Sakkari has continued to make history by becoming the first Greek woman to earn a place at the WTA Finals.

Maria Sakkari has continued to make history by becoming the first Greek woman to earn a place at the WTA Finals.

The 26-year-old booked her place at the end-of-season finale by reaching the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

She was awarded a walkover against her round of 16 opponent Anna Kalinskaya, with the Russian leaving the court due to injury.

Sakkari will now join Sakkari joins Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejčíková and Karolína Plíšková in the singles field for the WTA Finals, which pits the world’s best women’s tennis players against each other.

The tournament is scheduled to run from November 10th to 17th in Guadalajara. It can be extremely profitable for the winner, with 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty taking home $4.42 million (£30.7 million) in prize money.

Now firmly entrenched in the women’s world top 10, Sakkari will be hoping to make a name for herself at the WTA Finals. GiveMesSport Women takes a look at her career so far.

Who is Maria Sakkari?

Sakkari was born in the Greek capital of Athens. Tennis ran in the family – her mother, Angelikí Kanellopoúlou, is a former top-50 tennis player – and Sakkari began playing the sport aged 6.

When she was 18, Sakkari moved to Barcelona to train. She attempted to make her WTA Tour soon after, but failed at qualifying for the Rio Open and Bucharest Open.

Her next attempt, at the 2015 US Open, was more successful. Sakkari powered through qualifying but then lost in the first round to Wang Qiang. Nonetheless, the Greek warrior entered the world top 200 and ended the year ranked 188.

Sakkari, who has named clay and hard court as her preferred surfaces, continued her rise up the rankings in the ensuing years, reaching the semifinals of the Wuhan Open in 2017.

She then won her first WTA title two years later, triumphing at the Morocco Open in 2019.

Maria Sakkari has reached two Grand Slam semi-finals

Maria Sakkari’s breakthrough year

Sakkari has enjoyed a breakthrough year. She reached the semi-final at both Roland Garros and the US Open, finally making a mark at the Grand Slam stage. Across both events, she defeated three top 20 ranked opponents.

She has seven top 10 wins across 2021, including a stunning victory against Naomi Osaka at the Miami Open in April.

In September, Sakkari became the first Greek woman to break into tennis’s top 10, and she is now at a career-high ranking of world number seven.

Sakkari will be hoping to top off an incredible 12 months with an impressive performance in Guadalajara.

Maria Sakkari reached the semi-finals of the US Open News Now - Sport News