Without a title in 2021 how will Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari do in the season finale?

It is quite unusual for players to get to the WTA Finals without a trophy however it is done on points. You could argue that Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari have consistently picked up points this season but will have regrets.

Karolina Pliskova – 3 Finals, 0 Titles

Pliskova was runner-up at Wimbledon, she took a while to get going against Barty but did make a match of it but was a bit too error prone.

There were title losses to Giorgi in Montreal and Swiatek in Rome. 

In Montreal it was predictable by Giorgi but impossible for Pliskova to overcome, the Italian was relentless with hitting her groundstrokes deep and central. At no point during the match was the Czech allowed to settle and move inside the baseline. It was their second meeting of the year and Giorgi had her card marked.

Rome was tricky, the final was over before it began. 46 minutes in and Swiatek won 6-0 6-0 with Pliskova winning just 13 points and 4 of those were in the final game of the match. It was the first time in the 91 year history this had happened in Rome, credit to Pliskova who a few weeks later bounced back making the Wimbledon final.

Maria Sakkari – 1 Finals, 0 titles and 6 semi-final defeats

There has been a lot of progress this year from Maria Sakkari, she was more recently runner-up in Ostrava again the in-form Anett Kontaveit but the semi-final defeats have been tough!

Three tournaments in-particular come to mind:

Miami – 6-7 6-3 6-7 vs Andreescu
US Open – 1-6 4-6 vs Raducanu
French Open – 5-7 6-4 7-9 vs Krejcikova

Tough matches to lose, there are two that stick in my mind and the first was in Paris.

Maria had match points against Krejcikova in Paris, it was on her racket and she lost, it then hurts even more when that players wins the title and coming back from that was tough.

What happened in New York? Maria was soo good, she had just won 6-4 6-4 vs Pliskova and then crumbled. I watched the match in the early hours of the morning and the performance from Sakkari against Raducanu had fear running through it. The forehand was just wild and it felt like there was some of that Paris hangover in this match as well.

What to expect in Guadalaraja?

I do think Pliskova has more of a ‘point to prove’ at no consistent time throughout the season have I felt she has played as a top five player. It is an event she has unfinished business at, it will be her fifth consecutive year at the WTA Finals but she will not want it to be the fourth consecutive year she has lost in the semi-finals… big wins have been tough to come about for Pliskova with just three top ten wins since the beginning of 2020…

For Maria Sakkari I do think this is a free-hit, she has slipped at times but this season has been a major breakthrough for the Greek. She comes to the WTA Finals as the debutant as well as some others but also with the most top ten wins against other top ten ranked players (7).

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