Maria is through to her first final of 2017 at the Tianjin Open in Tianjin, China after she defeated No.3 seed Peng Shuai of China 6-3 6-1 in an hour and 18 minutes.
The match started strongly for Maria as she got the first break of serve in the first game and again in the final game to win the set 6-3 in 41 minutes. An impressive statistic for Maria throughout the set was her first serve percentage as she won 93% (14/15) of points when her serve went in.
Maria’s form continued in the second set as she dropped only one game as she advanced to her first final since 2015. Maria didn’t face one break point on her serve throughout the match.
After the win, Maria said:
“The finals are the stage that I want to be at and where I want to do well. It has been a long road, so this is very rewarding, but I also know I have another match to play, so as much as I want to be happy and content, I know that I have an ambitious opponent in front of me.”
In Sunday’s final, Maria will face world no.102 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Maria has never played the 19-year-old before. This match will at 2.00 PM local time (8.00 AM CET, 2.00 AM ET & 11.00 PM PT on Saturday).
Maria talks about the final:
“From what I have seen, she is a really good player. She is hungry, young and motivated to be in this stage of the tournament. It’s very flattering when someone looks up to you, but it’s also very dangerous because they want that position. They want to be the champion and no matter who you are playing in the final, both of us deserve to be at that stage. I am excited. I am excited that my first final back is at this event.”