Swiatek to fight Sakkari in the final of Indian Wells

March 16, 2024
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek secured her place in the Paribas Open final after a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 31 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine
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Indian Wells, March 16 (IANS) World No. 1 Iga Swiatek secured her place in the Paribas Open final after a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 31 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the semifinals. She will next meet World No. 9 Maria Sakkari, who battled out Coco Gauff in three hard-fought sets on Friday to reach the summit clash.

Swiatek’s dominance on the court was evident as she swiftly built a set and break lead, capitalising on Kostyuk’s erratic start marked by 15 unforced errors in the opening set.

Despite Kostyuk’s efforts to regroup, Swiatek maintained her momentum, displaying precision and control throughout the match. The Ukrainian’s challenges were compounded by a foot injury that prompted a medical timeout, further tipping the scales in Swiatek’s favour. With clinical efficiency, Swiatek sealed the victory after just 69 minutes on the court, showcasing her prowess as the top seed in the tournament.

Swiatek’s journey to the final marks a historic achievement, as she becomes the first No. 1 seed to reach the Indian Wells final since Serena Williams in 2016. With a flawless performance, Swiatek did not face a single break point and demonstrated her dominance by breaking Kostyuk five times in six chances.

The victory adds to Swiatek’s impressive record this year, marking her 19th win on tour and solidifying her position as one of the leading players on the WTA circuit. As she sets her sights on the final, Swiatek aims to capture her third career WTA 1000 title, following her previous triumphs in Doha last month and Rome two years ago.

In the other semifinal, world No. 9 Maria Sakkari displayed her resilience and determination to overcome No. 3 seed Coco Gauff in a hard-fought three-set battle 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 securing her spot in the final for the second time in her career. Sakkari’s victory sets up a highly-anticipated rematch with Swiatek.

Sakkari leads the head-to-head 3-2, but has won their last three meetings in straight sets. Sakkari has notched five consecutive victories for the first time since winning her first WTA 1000 title last fall in Guadalajara.

Sakkari, known for her powerful game and relentless style of play, capitalised on crucial opportunities to gain the upper hand against her American opponent. Despite facing adverse weather conditions and a brief rain delay, Sakkari maintained her focus and composure, executing her game plan with precision.

When play resumed, she quickly held to 4-4 and immediately earned a triple break+point thanks to an error-strewn serving game from the American. During the set break, Gauff had her blood pressure and vitals assessed by the trainer just as a heavier dose of rain descended on the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

When play resumed, Sakkari continued her surge to build a 5-2 lead with a double-break but Gauff came charging back. The American reeled off four consecutive games and saved three match points along the way before taking the match to a deciding set.

With an impressive display of skill and determination, Sakkari sealed the victory after a gruelling 2 hours and 42 minutes of intense competition, securing her fifth consecutive win and earning a well-deserved place in the final. As she prepares to face Swiatek in a highly-anticipated rematch of the 2022 final, Sakkari will draw confidence from her head-to-head advantage and her recent string of impressive performances.

–IANS

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