Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina inch closer to WTA Finals

WTA stars Maria Sakkari and Daria Kasatkina moved closer to securing a berth at the WTA Finals after advancing at the Guadalajara Open in Mexico.

World number six Sakkari defeated Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 6-4 6-4 after a gritty match saw a combined 22 break point opportunities. 

The Greek's play on those big points proved the difference despite Kostyuk generating 13 break points but only converted twice, while Sakkari broke four times from nine chances.

Sakkari will face either American Danielle Collins or Magdalena Frech of Poland in the round-of-16.

Meanwhile, Kasatkina eased past Zhu Lin of China 6-1 6-2 to also advance to the third round.

The Russian told WTA Insider: "As much as I was trying to push away the thought of the WTA Finals, to trick myself, I cannot.

"I just have to accept this pressure and face it the way I can. It's the first time I actually have a chance to compete, not as an alternate, so it's stressful. But the way I am doing on the court, I'm pretty happy.

"I'm not in a bad position. And after this match I'm in an even better position. That's why this was a really important one and now I feel I put the heavy backpack down.

"This pressure is good. If at the end of 2019 someone tells me in three years you're going to have the pressure to go to the WTA Finals to play, I would say are you kidding me? I cannot believe it. So far it's a very good problem to have."

Kasatkina will face either Monastir champion Elise Mertens of Belgium or compatriot Anna Kalinskaya next.

Tuesday also saw 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada oust 16th-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 3-6 6-2 6-0.

In their first meeting, Andreescu took 2 hours and 11 minutes to overcome two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova in the second-round clash.

With the victory, the Canadian knocked her rival out of WTA Finals contention.

Elsewhere, reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated former World No 1 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5) 6-2 in a 76-minute first-round match.

Rybakina of Kazakhstan has now won both of her meetings with the Czech in straight sets.

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