Iga Swiatek collected her third WTA 1000 title in the last year cruising past Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-1 today in the Indian Wells final.
Swiatek, just 20, now has five career titles (and five straight) and will move to a career-high No. 2 in the rankings tomorrow.
“At the beginning of the tournament, I wouldn’t even think about winning, honestly,” Swiatek said. “Of course you have to believe in yourself, but I’m a realistic person.
“Right now it’s too surreal to describe it, honestly,” she said of her ranking. “But for sure I want to go higher because I feel like getting No. 1 is closer and closer.”
Swiatek had defeated Sakkari last month in Doha last month, and today in the wind continued to abuse the Sakkari second serve, grabbing six breaks. Swiatek wrapped it up taking the last five games of the match for another final win in straight sets.
“Today was pretty crazy because of the conditions,” said Swiatek.
“I was talking with my coach and I was saying, ‘Okay, maybe in a few years I’ll get how to play here and how to adjust to the conditions,’ so I’m really overwhelmed. Honestly, my mind is blown.”
Swiatek is also the first Polish player to win in Indian Wells. She has also won her last 11 matches and leads the tour with a 20-3 record on the year.
“I think I played some very, very good matches,” Sakkari said. “I really believe I took a step forward this week, even though I lost today. It was a week that will have a special place in my heart. I know it sounds kind of weird because I did not win the tournament, but I felt like I improved as a player this week. I’m just going to take that with me and move forward.”
Sakkari was playing in her biggest career final after falling all four previous times in the semifinals at this level. The 26-year-old Greek falls to 1-4 in WTA finals. But with her effort she’ll move to No. 3 in the rankings, matching countryman Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I can’t believe there’s only two girls above me right now,” Sakkari said. “Whoever followed my steps the last couple of years, they know what that means to me.
“I’m very proud that myself and Stefanos have actually grown tennis in Greece. Having two players in that ranking position is something huge for us. I’m going to say it again, but I’m very proud of myself this week.”
With Ash Barty idle, Swiatek could continue to gain ranking ground on the Australian in Miami next week.
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