Swiatek Tops Halep, Sakkari Stops Badosa In Indian Wells SFs
There will be a new Indian Wells champion in the women’s draw on Sunday as Iga Swiatek will meet Maria Sakkari for the first Masters title of 2022.
Swiatek held off Simona Halep 7-6(6), 6-4 in a tight Friday semifinal.
“In all my previous matches against Simona, I always felt like I had nothing to lose,” said Swiatek. “I was never the favorite. In this one, I felt like my ranking is higher and, obviously, I’ve been playing well. I had to adjust to this different mindset and different mood when I was going on court.”
“It was stressful, for sure, but I wanted to fight until the end and be mentally stronger because she’s not giving up. I’m pretty proud that I did that.”
The battle of French champions saw Halep up a break on both sets but both times she was unable to capitalize. Halep served for the first set at 5-4 and then led 6-4 in the first set breaker.
In the second, Halep led 4-2 but Swiatek won the last four games of the match.
“Today I had to come back from some breaks as well, so I think mentally it was the toughest one,” Swiatek said of her week. “Also coming back in that tiebreaker, it cost me a lot of energy.”
Swiatek has now won her last 10 matches and overall she’s 19-3 on the year. In the final, she’ll face Sakkari who ended the title defense of Paula Badosa with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win, one of the biggest of her career after going 0-4 in Masters semifinals.
“I’ll be deadly honest that I never, ever thought about it. I have a lot of people around me telling me about the semifinals and that I was not able to get over this hurdle,” Sakkari said. “But I never, ever thought about it because I was always very confident and had a lot of belief that I would just get over it soon and it clicked, I guess.”
After dropping the second, Sakkari quickly broke to build a 2-0 lead in the decider and with her powerful groundstrokes, that would be all she would need.
“I was very concerned before the match because Paula is playing differently than the other girls,” Sakkari told the crowd. “She has a very heavy game. She obviously loves this tournament because she won it six months ago. I had full faith and I believed in myself every single moment.”
The winner of tomorrow’s final also will grab the No. 2 ranking.
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