Maria Sakkari secures WTA Finals spot after beating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni

Maria Sakkari has qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals after she fought off a late challenge from Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to reach the quarter-finals at Eastbourne.

Maria Sakkari has qualified for the WTA Finals at the end of the year | Jonathan Overend Read more

The 23-year-old has enjoyed an exciting fortnight at the grass court tournament having come back from a set down to beat Johanna Konta in the third round and in Monday’s last-eight clash she was given the ideal start by Konta on Centre Court when she was made to work hard for a 7-6, 7-5 victory.

Sakkari, who has a diverse background having learned both English and French at primary school, is the ninth player to qualify for next week’s event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and it will be the first time the WTA Finals have been held in Asia.

Lucic-Baroni, the 1998 Wimbledon finalist, had the chance to become the first Croatian to qualify for the Finals since two-time champion Jelena Jankovic in 2008 but she could not take her opportunity, wasting two match points in her defeat to Sakkari.

Sakkari, who is ranked 17th in the world and won the WTA Eastbourne title in 2015, said: “I can’t believe I am here. It feels unbelievable.

“For me playing here is one of the greatest things in tennis. I just love playing here on grass. It is really special.”

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