Maria Sakkari  defeated defending champ Paula Badosa  6-2 4-6 6-1 in a 1:49 hour match to close out the Friday night session at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Badosa was visibly disappointed when she met with press, but immediately insisted on congratulating Sakkari for an incredible victory: “She really deserved it. I thought she played a really good match. I didn’t play my best tennis today. But credit to her because it was her fault that maybe I didn’t play as well as I wanted and nothing else.”
Immediately after the win, Sakkari was so overcome with emotions that she cried as she prepared for her on court victory. She later explained, “it might look silly to some people because it might look like I’ve won the title, but sometimes it’s not about winning the tournament. It’s just that some moments are very special for every player and today was one of them.”
Sakkari has struggled to get past the semifinal stage at tournaments, so this was a major personal breakthrough. Asked about her new self-belief, she explained, “I’ve hit a lot of balls the last few years, so that plays a huge role in my confidence and in my game […] having a team like the one I have and having people that they constantly repeat that they believe in you and that they trust you and that they’re just very proud no matter what, it just makes things a lot more easier.”
Unlike after her 2021 title year, when the tournament took place in October, Badosa is just at the beginning of her season and has much to look forward to. She told media, “Tomorrow I will rest. I have pain everywhere. And then after I will go to Miami and prepare because of course conditions are totally different. The balls are changing again. So it’s another different world, another tournament starting over, so I have to go there to adapt myself.”
Maria Sakkari will play Iga Swiatek in the final Saturday at 13:00 local time. This will be her first WTA 1000 final.