Iga Swiatek is the BNP Paribas Open 2022 champion in Indian Wells. Swiatek defeated Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-1, in a match that lasted 1:20 hours under the hot desert sun besieged by wind. With this win, she will rise to world No.2 in the new WTA rankings.
As is so often the case in tennis, the set score does not tell the full story of the match. In fact, Swiatek won 63 points to Sakkari’s 48. Sakkari converted 3 of her 4 break points, whereas Swiatek only converted 6/11. But with a stronger serve, returning more balls , and keeping her opponent far back and playing to the risky outside lines in high winds, Swiatek took the title in a decisive victory.
In her press conference after the victory, Swiatek was quick to point out how difficult the battle was. She said she “managed to somehow find little bit of balance even in these conditions. At the end, my main goal was to just play in it. It was pretty hard to actually play the tactics that I wanted because of the conditions. I wanted just to stay consistent and really solid because that’s the most important thing when the ball is going in weird directions.”
Swiatek added that in the wind, “you just have to not play so many angles, play a little bit more to the middle. The girl who is going to be taking more risk, she’s going to miss a little bit more. For sure you want to be aggressive, not like push the ball. But I also wanted to adjust to what Maria was doing, and I think I did that pretty well in the second set. I wasn’t taking too much risk.” The 2020 French Open champion took just enough risks to keep Sakkari on her toes.
Speaking with press after the match, Sakkari was clearly disappointed in her performance. She said Swiatek played better in their previous match in Doha, but her own serve was lacking and she failed to execute. She explained, “I think there wasn’t like a clear plan. There was a clear plan from my team, but I was not executing it the way I wanted. It was just not my day today, which I think sounds like something that can happen sometimes.”
The Greek has plenty of positives to take away from her run at Indian Wells: “It was a week that winning against these players, overcoming myself in certain situations, was the key for me, to just believe more in myself and see myself in these positions and these later stages of the tournament.”
Swiatek will enjoy the hard-earned victory, but not let it go to her head. Asked about this win on the heels of her Doha title and with Miami just around the corner, she said, “it’s giving me a lot of confidence. Today I’m going to be thinking about that because I can, and I can enjoy and celebrate. But still, when I’m going to be playing in Miami, I need to be a hundred percent focused on the match. Every tournament is a different story. Even though we are showing the consistency, the players that I mentioned for sure, still any girl can win any WTA tournament.” (photos: Jimmie48)