Maria Sakkari made a long-awaited return to the WTA winner's circle on Saturday night at the Guadalajara Open AKRON. The Greek star captured the first WTA 1000 title of her career, just her second tour-level triumph of any kind, by ending the Cinderella run of American Caroline Dolehide in a 7-5, 6-3 final.

Sakkari had gone 0-6 in championship matches since raising her first trophy, at the WTA 250 event in Rabat, Morocco in 2019—including in Guadalajara last year (to another American, Jessica Pegula) and in Washington, D.C. this summer (to a third, Coco Gauff). But she entered the match against unseeded 25-year-old Dolehide, the world No. 111, as No. 2 seed and the firm favorite, and despite a first-set speed bump, came good after one hour and 43 minutes.

"We've waited more than four years for a second title, and we've heard so many bad things," Sakkari said of she and her coach, Tom Hill, in her winner's speech. "That I would never win a title, that I'm a Top 5 player with only winning one title.

"That was so hard for me to overcome, but I'm so happy I did it here this week."


Sakkari broke serve four times in victory, and hit 19 winners to Dolehide's eight, to become the first woman to win a WTA 1000 this year without losing a set. She bent, but didn't break, in the first set as an early lead disappeared. After breaking Dolehide's serve for the first time at 1-1, Sakkari's 4-2 lead quickly became a 5-4 deficit, but Dolehide crucially double faulted twice in the 11th game to hand the No. 2 seed another break.

Sakkari didn't make the same mistake in the second set, where her early lead stood up for the duration. She broke serve for a third time at 2-2, hit her third ace of the contest to hold for 5-3 (after being pushed to deuce from 40-15), and wrapped up victory on her second match point.

In addition to taking home her biggest career title, Sakkari will also rise from her current spot of world No. 9 to world No. 6 on Monday, and keeps herself in firm contention to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.


Dolehide, who played not only her first WTA final but her first semifinal in Guadalajara, will soar from outside the Top 100 to inside the Top 50 as a result of five victories. The American came from a set down to beat compatriot Peyton Stearns in three tiebreaks in the first round; knocked off No.8 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova with the loss of just three games in the third round; saved four match points in a quarterfinal victory over Italy's Martina Trevisan; and beat 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the semifinals.