Caroline Dolehide, the WTA Tour’s No.111-ranked participant, superior to the Guadalajara Open AKRON closing Friday, defeating Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-3.
How one can put this extraordinary run in some form of perspective?
It’s the primary profession singles closing on the WTA Tour degree for the 25-year-old American — and this can be a 1000-level occasion. It was her fifth consecutive win, one other private WTA first.
Within the 14 years for the reason that format was instituted, Dolehide is barely the second participant ranked outdoors the High 100 to succeed in a WTA 1000 closing since Svetlana Kuznetsova — who occurred to be a two-time main singles champion. Coming into this yr, Dolehide had 4 victories over High 100 gamers, a complete she’s equaled in a blur of 5 days.
Oh, and did we point out that Dolehide additionally reached the doubles semifinal with associate Asia Muhammad? It’s been that type of surreal week for Dolehide, nevertheless it’s not over.
Saturday’s closing (3:30 p.m. native time) will present one other daunting impediment when she meets No.2 seed Maria Sakkari, a 6-3 6-0 winner over No.3 Caroline Garcia.
It’s the second straight Guadalajara closing for Sakkari, who fell to Jessica Pegula a yr in the past in straight units. This simply could be the largest title of her profession.
Dolehide and Sakkari have by no means performed.
“Actually, I’ve been so within the current — it feels wonderful,” Dolehide mentioned after the win over Kenin. “I’m so excited for tomorrow, however I’ve doubles arising. I’m actually targeted on that. Clearly, I’m actually pleased with myself, getting that win immediately as a result of Sonia shouldn’t be a straightforward participant to get by.
“I performed very sensible after being down a break in each units immediately. I discovered what was working and I caught with it.”
In Guadalajara, the place the skinny, excessive altitude agrees together with her flat, highly effective strokes, Sakkari has mastered that system. She has but to drop a set, the primary time that’s occurred on a run to a WTA 1000 closing.
With the win over Garcia, Sakkari reversed just a few troubling traits. Garcia gained the primary three matches in opposition to the 28-year-old from Greece, however Sakkari has gained the 2 matches they’ve performed this yr. Heading into this one, Sakkari was a disappointing 6-7 this yr in opposition to gamers ranked within the High 20, shedding most just lately to Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova, in Washington and Cincinnati, respectively.
That is Sakkari’s third WTA 1000 closing, following Indian Wells and Guadalajara a yr in the past. She’s already moved into rivalry to qualify for the race to the WTA Finals in Cancun and a win would place her on the bubble at No.9.
Towards Garcia, Sakkari saved all 4 break factors and transformed 4 of six.
It is a week that, whatever the consequence, will change Dolehide’s life. By reaching the finals, she’s assured herself a spot within the High 50. A win would vault right here into the High 30 — that’s what’s attainable with an unlikely private greatest in a WTA 1000 occasion.
Take into consideration this: Coming into Guadalajara, Dolehide had gained solely two WTA 1000 matches, the latest coming 5 years in the past within the second spherical at Indian Wells. After shedding within the first spherical of the US Open and the primary spherical of qualifying in San Diego, she’s now gained 5 in Mexico. Dolehide has upset No.43 Peyton Stearns, No.20 Ekaterina Alexandrova, No.54 Martina Trevisan and No. 53 Kenin.
And it’s not simply that she’s successful, it’s how she’s doing it.
Dolehide misplaced a first-set tiebreak to Stearns within the first spherical — and gained two tiebreaks to advance. Within the quarterfinals, she saved 4 match factors in opposition to Trevisan. Trailing Kenin within the first set, she gained 5 of the final six video games. Down 3-1 within the second, Dolehide gained 5 straight.
Now the query is, can she maintain that momentum going in opposition to Sakkari?
- Can Dolehide finish magical week in Guadalajara with a win vs. Sakkari?
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