Indian Wells: Iga Swiatek, Maria Sakkari advance to final
Indian Wells: 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. Swiatek is assured of reaching a new career high of either No. 2 or No. 3 in the world depending on the outcome.
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.
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.”
On the men’s side, Taylor Fritz defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 to reach the semifinals for the second time in five months.
The 24-year-old American is in the midst of the best stretch of his young career, and it all began in the desert in October. That’s when the tournament was held last year, pushed out of its traditional March spot because of the COVID-19 pandemic.