GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 on Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Guadalajara Open 1000 and clinch a place in the WTA Finals.
Sakkari will play in the WTA Finals for the second straight year. The 27-year-old from Greece advanced to the semifinals in Guadalajara a year ago.
Gauff, who secured her place with two wins this week, lost to Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3.
The 33-year-old Azarenka, from Belarus, reached her first semifinal since last October, when she advanced to the final at Indian Wells.
“She’s a young player, but she’s had quite a few already experiences on the tour. I love watching Coco play,” Azarenka said. “I believe that she’s going to do great things in the sport. I feel like she just needs a little bit more to kind of take that one step forward.”
Azarenka, a former No. 1-ranked player in the world, will face off against third-seeded Jessica Pegula, who cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over former U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens.
With the win, Pegula has 37 victories in WTA 1000 tournaments, the most since 2021. She broke a tie with Swiatek (36).
“I saw the stat that I have the most wins over the last two years”, said Pegula, who is having a breakthrough season. “It´s awesome. When I was younger, I never thought that I could string two wins together, its going to be a special stat for the rest of my career.”