WTA Finals tennis - Top seed Aryna Sabalenka battles past Iga Swiatek in deciding set in crucial match
It was an inspired comeback from Aryna Sabalenka as she recovered from a set down to beat the fifth seed Iga Swiatek, 2-6 6-2 7-5, in Guadalajara, Mexico in front of a raucous crowd. The world number two needed to win in order to keep her hopes alive in the competition, and she duly did to move to 1-1 in the Chichen Itza group.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts after match point in her singles match against Iga Swiatek of Poland during Day 4 of 2021 Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara at Centro Panamericano de Tenis
After roaring to the opening set for the loss of just two games, the Pole looked in control of the match, only to see that scoreline reversed in the second.
While the third set was incredibly tight all the way to 5-5, it was Sabalenka who ultimately held her nerve to seize the crucial victory.
Sabalenka will next take on the fourth seed, Maria Sakkari, in the final round-robin match on Monday with their places in the final four still not guaranteed.
"After the first match I just didn't want to do the same mistake," Sabalenka said after the match.
"I just didn't want to give up again. I just kept saying to myself, 'You have to put this ball in somehow - if you don't feel well, doesn't matter, you just have to fight and you just have to try your best'."
The winner of the match between Sabalenka and Sakkari will take on group winner Paula Badosa in the semi-finals.
In the other singles match of the day, Badosa caused another stir as she upset the odds to beat Sakkari, 7-6 6-4, and ensure her place at the top of the group.
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