World No. 1 Iga Swiatek Sweeps Past Maria Sakkari For Second Indian Wells Title

Mar18,2024



World number one Iga Swiatek defeated Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-0 on Sunday to win her second Indian Wells WTA title, two years after defeating Sakkari for the first time. The rematch at the 2022 Championship Showdown produced an almost identical result, as four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek dominated the second set to clinch her 19th career title and second title of 2024. Sakkari, ranked ninth in the world, put up a great fight in the initial rounds. The set, squandered a break and saved two break points in the final game before Swiatek hit a blistering forehand winner to take the set after 44 minutes.

The Polish star would need just 24 more minutes to complete the job. She broke Sakkari at love to take a 2-0 lead and reach the end.

Swiatek, who continued her strong comeback after an Australian Open third-round exit in January, said her 12 days in the California desert were not as easy as her scoreline suggested.

She lost only 21 games and did not lose a single set.

“I'm really proud of myself,” she said. “Even though this tournament it seemed like, the score, maybe I had everything under control, from the beginning to the end it was not so easy.

“So I'm happy that I was able to improve during the tournament. The last two matches I felt really good, a lot of confidence,” Swiatek said. In the third round in Melbourne.

After that disappointment, Swiatek came back strong, winning the title in Doha and reaching the semi-finals in Dubai.

On Sunday, she became the 10th woman to win the Indian Wells title twice, joining Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters as the only players to win two titles before turning 23.

“I think I did a really good job,” Swiatek said. “It hasn't been easy after Australia and I'm working hard to play well and handle everything mentally well.”

He made a strong start against Sakkari and took a 3-0 lead.

Sakkari, whose two career titles include a 1000-level event in Guadalajara last September, broke back in the fifth game and leveled the set at 4-4.

But she soon fell behind 0-40 to stay in the set and once Swiatek had the set in hand, she went on to win the last eight games of the match.

“There's no point in overanalyzing it, I didn't feel like I lost control or anything,” said Swiatek, who produced three unreturnable serves to take a 5-4 lead in the first. “I just knew what I wanted to improve on and that's what I did.”

Although she managed to keep the first set competitive, Sakkari said it was not enough to keep up with Swiatek in the rallies.

'ciao-ciao'

“You have to be very aggressive playing him,” he said.

“You also have to take advantage of every opportunity,” he said. “When you play Iga, (Arina) Sabalenka, (Elena) Rybakina, all those players… you have two, three chances in the match and you have to take them,” she said.

“If you don't take them, it's 'ciao-ciao' as I say.

“Especially with (Swiatek). She's aggressive, but she's solid. Like from 3-0 to 3-3 to 4-4 she started missing.

“But then if you don't take advantage of that little opportunity – like it was 4-all, and I played a very loose returning game. I missed three backhand returns.

“It's not acceptable with players like him.”

Ultimately, Sakkari regretted her troubles in defeating US Open champion Coco Gauff in a rain-interrupted semi-final.

She wasted three match points in the second set before winning three match points and said that that match had taken it away from her.

“Maybe things would have been different for me, how I felt on the court, if my last match had not lasted so long,” he said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Topics mentioned in this article

inga swiatek Maria Sakkari Tennis

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