WTA Finals began with a bang as Greece’s Maria Sakkari defeated Jessica Pegula in the opening contest before Aryna Sabalenka downed world no.2 One Jabeur to set up intriguing final days on the women’s tennis calendar.
Sakkari and Pegula christened the tournament with a thrilling 7-6(6) 7-6(4) battle that went in the favour of the Greek who avenged her loss to Pegula in the Guadalajara Open just 8 days ago.
The confidence of both women was on full display in the first set which inevitably went to a tiebreak with Pegula staving off two set points before Sakkari got on board.
Things unravelled rather quickly in the second for the American as she fell into a 0-3 hole before fighting back to cue another tiebreaker which also went against her.
The win over Pegula in the WTA Finals was the first over a top-5 player for Maria Sakkari, a tidbit she was unaware of until the interviews.
Meanwhile, in the day’s other contest, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka upset the world no.2 Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 to sour the Wimbledon and the US Open finalist’s WTA Finals debut.
The Tunisian appeared at home on the big stage easing to a one-set lead before needing just two points for victory at 5-3 in the second set tiebreak and was also a point away from a 5-2 lead in the third set before Sabalenka stormed back on each occasion to stun the 28-year-old.
Sabalenka now leads their head-to-head 3-1.