Just a few weeks ago, Maria Sakkari was in tears following an opening-round exit at the US Open. In Guadalajara on Sunday, it was tears of joy that were flowing after she captured her first title in over four years at the WTA 1000 event.
Sakkari defeated surprise finalist Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 6-3 to grab the second title of her professional career.
The Greek, who had contemplated taking some time away from the game after he loss in New York, acknowledged the recent challenges she had experienced in her post-match press conference.
“For me it's just very important that I could bounce back and find a way to find happiness on the court again. That was my biggest goal this week and my biggest achievement. I'm just very happy that I managed to find a way this week and that it happened here in Guadalajara.”
Sakkari did not drop a set on route to the title and obtained wins over Storm Hunter, Camila Giorgi, Emiliana Arango and Caroline Garcia before beating Dolehide in the final. She now rises three spots to No. 6 in the rankings, while Dolehide catapults 69 positions up to a career-best No. 42 after the biggest week of her pro career.
Read Also: Coco Gauff’s Dream Comes True at US Open
Dolehide’s rise in the rankings now gives the United States a total of ten women inside the Top 50 on the WTA which is a testament to the incredible depth that they continue to demonstrate on both the women’s and men’s side of things.
Rest of the Field
Guadalajara was a tournament of redemption for several players who had been slumping in recent weeks, including Caroline Garcia who made it to the semifinals. Playing in Mexico must agree with Garcia, as it was the first time she’s made the final four of a tournament since March at the Monterrey Open.
It was a resurgent week as well for former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who now jumps 22 spots in the rankings to No. 31 after her run to the semifinals in Guadalajara. Kenin has played some inspired tennis of late which saw her make the finals the previous week in San Diego (l. to Krejcikova).
“I'm very happy. I'm very proud of myself,” said Kenin after her quarter-final victory over Leylah Annie Fernandez. “Obviously it means a lot to me. I've been putting in some hard work and it's paying off, so I'm super proud.”
It was perhaps the best tournament of the year for 21-year-old Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez who made the first WTA 1000 quarter-final of her career in Guadalajara. Fernandez has had some of her biggest results in Mexico since turning pro, with three of her four WTA Tour finals and both of her titles coming in Mexico.
The bounce-back performance follows some encouraging play of late for Fernandez who had a big win at the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal last month against Beatriz Haddad Maia and now seems poised to finish 2023 on solid ground.
Eugenie Bouchard, Stacey Fung, and Carol Zhao, also played singles at the event.
Zhao made her way through two rounds of qualifying before falling in her opening round main draw match at the hands of Kenin, 6-4, 6-3. Fung was competing in her first WTA Tour main draw, but lost to Marta Kostyuk in three sets in the first round.
Eugenie Bouchard reached the second round, beating Renata Zarazua for her first tour-level win since April before falling in three sets to No. 7 seed Veronika Kudermetova.
There was plenty of good news for Canadian tennis fans in the doubles draw as well, as recent US Open winners Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe made their way to yet another final before falling at the hands of Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (the No. 1 seeds) by a score of 3-6, 6-2, [10-4].
After only playing five tournaments together this season, the Dabrowski/Routliffe tandem has a real chance of qualifying for the year-end WTA Finals which will also be held in Mexico. They seem very much intent on pursuing that possibility and are back on the court this week as the No. 1 seeds at the Japan Open.
Routliffe joined Match Point Canada recently to talk about the success she’s enjoyed with Dabrowski and shared that the two seem to really gel because, “As far as us meshing well quickly…for us with our game styles, it was really, really natural. We’re really open with each other – probably the number one reason this happened [winning the US Open] is because we’re honest with each other about everything.”