Indian Wells semifinals set: Swiatek vs. Kostyuk, Gauff vs. Sakkari

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Four women are left standing at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open, as the tournament is down to two semifinal pairs — Iga Swiatek vs. Marta Kostyuk and Coco Gauff vs. Maria Sakkari.

Top-half semifinal: Iga Swiatek versus Marta Kostyuk

To advance to the final four, world number one Iga Swiatek defeated Caroline Wozniacki on retirement after earning a 6-4 1-0 lead. Wozniacki took a medical timeout between sets for treatment on the toe that bothered her in the previous match already. After one game, the Dane decided to retire. Following the match, the top-seeded Swiatek was concerned for her opponent and extended her well wishes.

In the semifinal Friday, Swiatek will face 32nd-ranked Marta Kostyuk, who advanced to the next round with a 6-0 7-5 victory over Anastasia Potapova. The two played each other once before, when Swiatek beat Kostyuk 6-3 6-4 in the round of 16 at the 2021 French Open.

Asked her thoughts about the next match, Swiatek said, “I don’t have many honestly, because I’m still kind of thinking about the match that I played, but if she’s in the semifinal, she deserves to be there. There are no easy matches at this stage of the tournament, so I’ll be ready.”

Kostyuk was relieved when she came to press. Early in the match, the Ukrainian dominated Potapova, taking a 6-0 3-0 lead. When winds kicked up and she was thrown off, her Russian opponent was able to play freely and apply more pressure winning two games. The 21-year-old was able to maintain a narrow lead until a 5-5 score, at which point she summoned back her focus and took the next two games, and thereby the match.

Asked to look ahead, the rising star expressed excitement but was cautious not to overhype the clash: “Let’s not put expectations too high. Great competitor, she’s been on top of the game for two years already. I think it will be a great match. I don’t know what else to say, because I’m excited.”

Bottom-half semifinal: Coco Gauff versus Maria Sakkari

World number three, Coco Gauff, reached the semifinal with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Yuan Yue. For a spot in the final, she will have to take on number nine Maria Sakkari. The Greek leads their head-to-head 4:3, but the American won their last two matches in two sets each, both on hard court in 2023.

Hoping for her first berth in an Indian Wells final, the third seed knows what stands in her way: “I think every time playing her, she’s a tough opponent, she’s very athletic and explosive. She doesn’t give you much. She’ll take advantage. I’ve lost to her before and I’ve won before. It will be a tough match.”

Sakkari fought her way through Emma Navarro to reach this stage. In a night match that took almost three hours, the 28-year-old won 5-7 6-2 6-4.

Looking ahead to the semifinal, the 2022 finalist said, “It’s going to be very tough, but I’m playing great tennis right now.” Navarro and Gauff join Sakkari as some of the most athletic players in the WTA now, and that will be a big factor in the penultimate match: “When you play Coco, you have to accept that she’s going to get two, three more balls than anyone else. You just have to be patient. That’s what I did today in order to win today’s match. I just feel that’s my mindset going into tomorrow’s match against her.”


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