Caroline Dolehide finishes as runner-up at WTA 1000 in Guadalajara
While Caroline Dolehide won't be leaving Mexico with the winner's trophy, the 25-year-old American's breakthrough run at the Guadalajara Open Akron will set her up to feature on big stages for the rest of this season and well into next. Having never before reached a tour-level semifinal, the Hinsdale, Ill. native is set to break into the WTA's Top 50 as a result of reaching her first WTA tour-level singles final.
Dolehide finished as runner-up at the WTA 1000 event Saturday to No. 2 seed Maria Sakkari, losing 7-5, 6-3 in the showpiece match.
Dolehide advanced to the final with five statement wins, including a 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 7-6(2) win over compatriot Peyton Stearns in the first round that lasted nearly thee hours, and a 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-3 win over Italian Martina Trevisan in the quarterfinals, where she saved four match points. The American was ranked as low at No. 206 in February this season, and will blow past her previous career high of No. 99 that she first touched in May when the new rankings are released in two days' time.
She also beat No. 8 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova with the loss of just three games in the third round, and fellow American Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, in the semifinals.
"I'm really proud of myself and I look forward to a lot more finals like this," Dolehide told reporters after losing to Sakkari. "Hopefully, next time it could go a little bit more towards my way. ... This is definitely something to build on.
"Coming into this event and winning that tight match the first round and building on that, coming back from match points, all of that gave me more and more confidence. It's just been building and building so that's great."
Seeking her first career Top 10 victory to put the icing on the proverbial cake of her stunning week, Dolehide rallied from a break down in the first set to move ahead 5-4, but Sakkari, bidding for her first WTA trophy in four years, showed the form that's kept her inside the world's elite for more than 100 consecutive weeks to bag her biggest career title in 1 hour and 43 minutes, and drop Dolehide to 0-5 in her career against the Top 10. At 5-5, a deft dropshot-lob combo gave the Greek 0-40 on Dolehide's serve, and she earned the deciding break when Dolehide double-faulted. In set two, Sakkari again broke serve early, and this time, didn't relinquish her lead.
In what was a busy week for Dolehide, she and Asia Muhammad also reached the semifinals in doubles, where they were beaten by eventual champions and No. 1 seeds Elise Mertens and Storm Hunter.