The Belarusian number seven in the world Sabalenka, who ended the group stage with a 2-1 ‘record’, will continue if Sakkari wins one set. If the Greek drops a set, or even loses in three sets, there are still mathematical possibilities for Sabalenka to progress.
Sabalenka got off to a blistering start, breaking Pegula to open the game and again for a 5-2 lead. The world number three, Pegula, then battled four set points to break right back, but Sabalenka broke to love in the next game to round out the set.
Pegula trailed 2-0 in the second but fought back before Sabalenka delivered a love hold at 3-3 and then came back from 40-15 for a crushing service break before the top-ranked American returned the favor for the set.
But Sabalenka held on for the third time in the set and fourth in the match for a 6-5 lead, then capped it off on her second match point when she ripped a backhand crosscourt winner.
“She’s a great player and she really put me to work tonight,” Sabalenka said in her on-court interview. “I’m just happy that I was really focused from start to finish and was able to finish this match in two sets.
The world’s number two, Tunisian Jabeur and number 5 Sakkari, will start their match at 8pm ET (0000 GMT).