SANDRINGHAM, England — Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-4 Thursday to reach the final four of the $5.33 million WTA Finals qualifying tournament at the Eastbourne International.
Sakkari, ranked 48th in the world, faces Austria’s Aleksandra Krunic on Friday for a spot in the eight-player year-end World Tour Finals in Singapore.
In another semifinal on the indoor hard court at the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre, Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova faces Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.
Krunic, who was only 29th in the final WTA rankings in May, was due to play Britain’s Johanna Konta in the first semifinal, but Konta withdrew due to knee tendinitis, a situation that had also been affecting her in the first round of qualifying.
It was an hour later that Sakkari defeated second-seeded Navarro.
Sakkari, 26, is new to her new ATP Tour home of the past four years, and it was her first appearance in a final in a main-draw tournament this year.
She would become the first Greek player to appear in the year-end competition since Ilia Chernitsyn in 1984 if she wins on Friday.
“It will be a fantastic experience to come here and play against Krunic in the semifinal,” Sakkari said. “We have played many times, and I like the game of Krunic, she can play very aggressive. I just have to play my game and hit the ball high, quick and straight, because she hits well off both sides.”