MINSK, 12 November (BelTA) - Belarus' world number two Aryna Sabalenka lost to world number 10 Paula Badosa of Spain, 4-6, 0-6, in her debut at the 2021 Akrona WTA Finals Guadalajara, Mexico, BelTA has learned.
With the win, the 23-year-old Spaniard joins No.4 seed Maria Sakkari atop the Chichen Itza group after Day 2. Sabalenka led 4-2 at first but then Badosa bounced back. Sabalenka's frustration grew and led to a flurry of unforced errors. Badosa kept the baseline pressure on and kept the top seed at bay, punctuating her comeback by winning the last 10 games of the match. The match lasted for an hour and 15 minutes.
In the other match of the group Greece's world number 6 Maria Sakkari secured a solid win over Poland's world number 9 Iga Swiatek, 6-2, 6-4.
No.8 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia defeated world number three Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4, in the opening match of the Teotihuacan group. In the second match of the group world number 4 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic edged past Spain's Garbine Muguruza (5), 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6). Kontaveit will next face Pliskova, while Muguruza will play Krejcikova.
The Japanese duo of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara defeated Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Croatia's Darija Jurak, 6-0, 6-4 in the first match of the Teochtitlan group. Nicole Melichar-Martinez of the United States and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands proved stronger against Australia's Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai of China, 6-2, 6-2. Elise Mertens of Belgium and Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan saved set points in the opening frame to come back and defeat Desirae Krawczyk of the United States and Chile's Alexa Guarachi, 7-6(3), 6-2, to open play in the El Tajin group.
The group meetings will conclude on 15 November. Semifinals on 16 November will feature top two from each quartet. The final games will be played on 17 November. The total prize pool for the 2021 WTA final tournament will be $5 million.
The WTA Finals 2019, hosted by Shenzhen, China, was won by current world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who beat Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in the final. Ashleigh Barty decided not to play in Guadalajara this season due to health reasons. Last year the competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martina Navratilova of the Czech Republic won the final WTA tournament eight wins. Germany's Steffi Graf and Serena Williams of the United States have five titles each. In 2011, Belarus' Victoria Azarenka reached the final, where she lost to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.