Ons Jabeur overcame a nightmare first set to defeat Jessica Pegula and stay alive for a semi-final place at the WTA Finals while Maria Sakkari is already assured of her spot in the last eight.
On the back of losing against Aryna Sabalenka in her opener at the season-ending tournament, it was make or break for the world No 2 and she prevailled with a 1–6, 6–3, 6–3 victory in Group Nancy Richey to secure her first-ever win at the event.
After holding serve in the opening game of the match, Jabeur suffered a meltdown as she lost the next six games as Pegula broke three times to take the set.
The Tunisian regained her composure in the second set and broke in game three, but Pegula hit back only for Jabeur to win the final four games, courtesy of two breaks.
The second seed saved five break points in the first game of the decider and then broke to love in game eight before serving it out to win in one hour and 38 minutes.
“I lost my first match, and now I’m back in the game. One more match left. It’s tricky and everyone’s trying to give 100 percent. You don’t have many opportunities, so you really have to focus,” Jabeur said.
She added: “Honestly, it [losing opener] was very tough. Because I’m used to being depressed for the next two days when I lose. I didn’t have much time. It was very hard to sleep the first day to be honest with you.”
Sakkari, who was the last player to secure her place in this year’s WTA Finals, became the first player to reach the semi-final as she brushed aside Sabalenka 6–2, 6–4 in one hour and 37 minutes.
She continued her aggressive tactics and it paid off as she broke in games three and seven in the opener and then raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set with another two breaks. However, Sabalenka rallied and drew level at 3-3 only for the Greek to break again in game nine.
“If you’re not aggressive on this court, then it’s just game over,” Sakkari said. “If I was passive, especially against [Sabalenka], the biggest hitter on the tour, then it’s just bye-bye. I just went for it. If I’m not going to go for it here, when am I going to do it?”
Sakkari will take on Jabeur in the final group game with Sabalenka and Pegula squaring off in the other match.
WATCH: Watch: Ons Jabeur spooks Iga Swiatek and Caroline Garcia
The article Ons Jabeur ‘back in the game’ with win over Jessica Pegula; Maria Sakkari storms into WTA Finals semi-final appeared first on Tennis365.com.