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Just last week, Maria Sakkari captured the biggest title of her career. As you may already know, Maria Sakkari won the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara last week. But unlike most players, following this massive title win, she has decided to keep the momentum going. Most players would take at least a week off after such efforts, but not Sakkari – she is riding an incredible wave of form into the Asian Swing. And following her dominant performance against Garcia at the WTA Japan Open in the last 24 hours, it certainly seems as though something has clicked for Sakkari.
When you think that she was in tears following her early exit at the US Open less than a month ago, this turnaround is quite remarkable. Yet in my opinion, despite her fierceness on court, she is one of the most likable players out there. Adding to that, it’s always nice to see things coming together for a player who deserves it, and that’s precisely what we are witnessing with Sakkari at the moment.
So – why am I saying all of this? Well, I’m saying this while looking ahead to the upcoming 1000-level event in Beijing known as the WTA China Open. After all, Sakkari’s run of form relates directly to her chances in that tournament, and right now, I wouldn’t bet against her capturing another tournament win. As for why I have this opinion, there are a few areas to discuss, so let me get started.
Maria Sakkari’s run of form continues with dominant performances in Asia
At the time of writing, Sakkari is now ranked 6 in the world as per the latest WTA rankings updates. This shows that she is knocking at the door once again in terms of becoming a top-five WTA player. However, she needs to make a few more deep draw runs in top-level tournaments if she is to catch Elena Rybakina, as she has more than 1,300 points behind her. This is a big margin, but I’m sure Sakkari isn’t worrying too much about these finer details right now. Instead, I’m sure she is taking things one match at a time while enjoying her level of tennis in the process.
Anyway, now that you have a general idea of where Sakkari is in terms of her form and ranking, let me get to the main topic today.
The title run in Guadalajara
It’s crazy to think that for a player who has been in the mix at the top of the game for so many years, this was her first WTA 1000 title. Then again, Maria Sakkari is competing in a very strong period in women’s tennis. With players like Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka dominating the scene, winning these prestigious titles has been incredibly difficult – if not impossible. Yet Maria Sakkari has finally managed to make the breakthrough in Guadalajara. This was just the second title of her professional career, yet it’s the first at the 1000 level.
And as we recently witnessed with Coco Gauff, who captured her first 1000 title right before the US Open, such a victory can open up the doors for some great things in the immediate future.
The ruthlessness of her victories
I’ve stressed above that winning the tournament in Guadalajara was a huge victory for Maria Sakkari. However, I haven’t mentioned yet about the sheer ruthlessness of her matches. Amazingly, Sakkari won the title without dropping a single set. As it happens, not a single player managed to win more than 4 games in a single set against Maria Sakkari until the final, which is when Caroline Dolehide took 5 games in the first set.
Adding to that, Maria Sakkari has kept the efficiency going at the Japan Open over the last couple of days. Specifically, she has beaten both of her opponents in this 500-level tournament without losing a set once again. Most recently, she dispatched Caroline Garcia for the second tournament running by a score of 6-2 6-2. And now, she will face Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals.
Lapse in form from other top players
In my opinion, Maria Sakkari is hitting top form at the perfect moment to give herself a fighting chance in the WTA China Open. Not only is she playing incredible tennis, but the other top players like Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur, and Aryna Sabalenka aren’t producing results of the same caliber. In fact, Swiatek lost in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open today, so the player who many consider the favorite to win the WTA China Open is looking shaky.
Of course, this creates a huge opportunity for Maria Sakkari to take her second WTA 1000-level title in Beijing.
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