A stellar season from Maria Sakkari saw her break new grounds in her career, lifting her maiden WTA title and also booking a spot at the WTA Elite Trophy for the first time in her career. The Greek was a consistent performer week-in, week-out, excelling on clay and barging into the top-30 in the rankings.
Sakkari’s season was mediocre at the start of the year, but she found her footing on clay with a quarterfinal appearance in Charleston before grabbing the title at the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem by producing a wonderful comeback against Konta. She proceeded to stun Kvitova en route a semifinal finish at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia, her best result at a Premier 5 tournament.
Seven top-20 wins, including five over top-10 players, have allowed Sakkari to be a dangerous force at any tournament she competes in. Withdrawals from Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Marketa Vondrousova, and declined invitations from Amanda Anisimova, Sloane Stephens and Anett Kontaveit allowed the Greek to make her debut in Zhuhai.
She has been drawn into the Rose Group alongside Aryna Sabalenka and Elise Mertens. Sakkari had played both of her slated opponents this year, triumphing on both occasions.