Iga Swiatek Beats Simona Halep To Reach Indian Wells Final, Faces Maria Sakkari Next

Iga Swiatek beats Simona Halep to reach Indian Wells final, will face Maria Sakkari
Iga Swiatek beats Simona Halep to reach Indian Wells final, will face Maria Sakkari

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Iga Swiatek rallied from a break down in each set to beat Simona Halep 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Friday night and reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Maria Sakkari outlasted defending champion Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 and will play Swiatek in Sunday’s final. Either fourth-ranked Swiatek or sixth-ranked Sakkari would move to No. 2 in the world by earning the title.

It’s a rematch of last month’s semifinals in Doha, where Swiatek beat Sakkari for the first time — 6-4, 6-3 — and went on to win the title.

After splitting sets, Sakkari took a 2-0 lead in the third.

“Even though I lost the second set, the way I lost it was by playing aggressive, which helped me a lot on the third set,” Sakkari said.

Badosa broke back, but Sakkari won the last four games to close out the victory and reach the biggest final of her career.

“She served well. She was moving very well. She was playing very fast,” Badosa said. “She didn’t let me a lot of time to build the points.”

In the first semifinal, Swiatek saved two set points in the first-set tiebreaker when she overcame deficits of 3-1 and 5-3. She won the the final four points, with Halep committing errors on three of those points, before Swiatek cracked a forehand winner off Halep’s second serve. Halep received a racket abuse warning for smashing her racket on the court.

Swiatek took a 2-1 lead in the second set that featured five service breaks. Halep took a medical timeout and had a trainer wrap her upper left thigh.

Iga Swiatek beats Simona Halep to reach Indian Wells final
Iga Swiatek beats Simona Halep to reach Indian Wells final

Halep then broke Swiatek twice while taking the next three games for a 4-2 lead. But Swiatek took over from there. She won the last four games in a row, with Halep winning just four points total on her serve while getting broken twice.

“We had like the longest rallies I played here,” Swiatek said. “At the beginning I had to adjust a little bit to the new rhythm because Simona was for sure playing good than my opponents in previous rounds, and I’m pretty proud that I did that. Mentally, I was pretty strong.”

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