PREVIEW | 2023 WTA Finals Day Five including PEGULA v SAKKARI and SABALENKA v RYBAKINA as Bacalar Group concludes

It is a pivotal day at the WTA Finals with must win matches in the Bacalar Group including a repeat of the Australian Open Final in Thursday's preview.

The Bacalar Group sees Aryna Sabalenka v Elena Rybakina as the top tie, with Maria Sakkari now only playing for pride against the unbeaten Jessica Pegula in our preview. Amid all the chaos, two semi-finalists will move through on Thursday night.

Match One - Jessica Pegula v Maria Sakkari (around 23 CET start)

The first match is one that will have had fans excited pre tournament with Jessica Pegula v Maria Sakkari, one of the best head to heads on tour and both players being fans of the Mexican conditions.

But one has thrived and remains unbeaten, while the other has flattered to deceive in her title chance in Cancun. Thriving is Jessica Pegula who some saw as the missing link in the group after going 0-3 last year, but she could turn the tables this time around and go 3-0.

The American has been utterly superb and perhaps alongside her fellow semi-finalist, Iga Swiatek, the player of the tournament in Cancun.

But while she can't move through, Sakkari will play for pride and to try and strengthen her head to head record which stands at 5-4 in favour of the Greek. Many famous battles including Miami in 2021 and even last year's WTA Finals where Sakkari won, it has been a back and forth tussle over the years. But will Pegula remain perfect?

Prediction: Pegula in two sets

Match Two - Aryna Sabalenka v Elena Rybakina (around 00:30 CET start time)

Elena Rybakina on the other hand has somewhat turned the tables on a pretty poor Head to Head record and usually when it matters most.

Facing World No.1, Aryna Sabalenka, she sits with a 4-2 deficit but one that has been eroded in recent months including in Beijing and Indian Wells, with the latter sealing a revenge win from the Australian Open.

Rybakina hasn't found it the easiest so far in Mexico, but heads into a showdown with Sabalenka which sees the victor move through.

"Now it's gonna be either you win and you stay or you lose and you go back home," Rybakina said on facing the World No.1 next. "So it's kind of now the same as the other tournaments. It's not going to be easy, and I'm going to try to do my best."

So far Sabalenka has defeated Maria Sakkari with ease, but then struggled against Pegula in the second match. Rybakina also hasn't had it all her own way so it will be interesting to see how their latest meeting goes and who joins Pegula in the semi-finals from the Bacalar Group.

Prediction: Rybakina in three sets

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