STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari became the first Greek to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
“This is a huge moment for Greek tennis,” said Sakkari, who upset fourth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals on Sunday night. “I know my country is behind me and supporting me, and I hope to continue my incredible journey on the big stage.”
Sakkari beat Cibulkova in three sets in a final that lasted 1 hour and 11 minutes. The 22-year-old player from Glyfada, Greece, defeated big-hitting Czech Karolina Pliskova, who swept the third set, on Friday to earn her spot in the final four.
“It was a tough match but an amazing victory,” said Sakkari. “To get this step towards the finals in New York was an incredible moment for me.”
Sakkari reached the final four last year, but lost in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko.
She moves on to the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, where she will face Daria Kasatkina of Russia and the defending champ Simona Halep, of Romania.
Sakkari, a two-time Olympian for Greece, improved to 31-8 with the win and has a career singles record of 124-43.
She won two tournaments this year, including a spot in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, where she lost to Halep.
Sakkari, who holds a 6-foot-2 frame, is big on power. The Greek won the Aegon Classic in Nottingham last year.
The WTA Finals – featuring the year’s top eight singles players – begin Sept. 28 and end Oct. 1 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens.