Swiatek, Sakkari to fight for 2024 Indian Wells title in 2022 rematch

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Iga Swiatek will take on Maria Sakkari in the title fight for the 2024 BNP Paribas Open. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the last time these two played each other, it was on the same court for the 2022 championship. The current top seed won that match 6-4 6-1, but before that, they were even 2:2 in their head-to-head. The Greek is at this tournament working with new coach David Witt for the first time, and is eager to prove that at 28 years old she still has the best in front of her.

To reach the final, Swiatek defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-1 in a match that barely extended over an hour. Speaking with media after the quick victory, the Pole was as relaxed as ever: “I’m proud of myself and really excited. I think it was a great match for me today. I have all positive vibes.”

The world number one cited her intensity and discipline as the determining factors in her success and credited her team with fostering those. Speaking about her coach Tomasz Wiktorowski, she said, “When I started working with Tomasz, he taught me how to be more aggressive, but then you need to balance it.” For the balance, the four-time Grand Slam champion works closely with mental coach Daria Abramowicz.

The 22-year-old player told media, “The discipline came when Daria came on the team and she taught me how to be more focused and focus on the proper things. I remember my mind would go away, in a different way, when I was younger and I didn’t have skills yet to be that disciplined.”

Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 6(5)-7 6-2 in a very different sort of match. Play started shortly after 6, but as the second set began, a heavy downpour delayed play. The match resumed briefly before another rain pause that extended over two hours. When play resumed, the ninth seed quickly rushed to a 5-2 lead before the American third seed settled in and produced some of her best tennis. The match extended into a third set after Sakkari lost two match points at 5-4. The final point was played after 23:00 local time, more than 5 hours after it began.

Sakkari was elated in her post-match press conference and freely agreed that six months ago she could not have won such a match against Gauff. She explained that while a two set victory would surely have been nice, Witt told her after the hard fought battle that is was better for her in the long run: “We have to take the positives, and it’s true. I agree with him.”

Looking ahead, to Sunday, the world No.9 stated plainly, “One thing I know for sure is just that she’s very good, I’m very good, and we’re just going to fight and try and win that tournament.”

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