INDIAN WELLS, USA – Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari will be aiming for the world number two spot when they clash in the Indian Wells final.
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Iga Swiatek  v Maria Sakkari  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari will be looking to be the world number two when they clash in the final of Indian Wells. For Sakkari she overcame a 0-4 record in WTA1000 level semi-finals after beating defending champion Paula Badosa in the last round. While Swiatek overcame Simona Halep to reach the final and has had to battle her way through the early rounds in three sets to get to this stage.
Swiatek has produced a more aggressive style of tennis this season and it is paying off after a decent first grand slam at the Australian Open, the Pole is now 10-0 at WTA1000 events in 2022.
Not only is Swiatek’s tennis aggressive but her mindset is more resilient with a 71% win rate when losing the first set being the key.
Speaking to the WTA website Swiatek said her latest victory over Halep was her toughest one yet, “[The match against Halep] was the toughest one,” Swiatek said.
“Even though I was losing the first set sometimes [earlier in the fortnight], I still felt like I had a little bit more control over how the match is going. Today I had to come back from some breaks as well, so I think mentally it was the toughest one. Also coming back in that tiebreaker, it cost me a lot of energy, for sure. … I think I would say it was the most exciting one probably, if I was watching it.”
Swiatek will be battling another player who has upped her aggression on Sunday in Sakkari with the Greek serving more and more confidently with each match.
The sixth seed’s victory over Badosa in the last match was testament to the work she has put in on serve and return with Sakkari completely dominating the first and last sets.
Also speaking to the WTA website Sakkari said belief has been the key to overcoming her 0-4 semi-final loss record in WTA1000 events, “I’ll be deadly honest that I never, ever thought about it,” Sakkari said about her losing semi-final record at this level.
“I have a lot of people around me telling me about the semifinals and that I was not able to get over this hurdle. But I never, ever thought about it because I was always very confident and had a lot of belief that I would just get over it soon and it clicked, I guess. She [Badosa] has a very heavy game. She obviously loves this tournament because she won it six months ago. I had full faith and I believed in myself every single moment.”
The key to Swiatek’s game in this match will be her aggressive mindset and keeping the points consistently short, not allowing Sakkari much time on the ball. For Sakkari it will be all about extending the rallies and setting the tempo of the rally with her serve and the shot after her return.
It should be a fascinating tactical battle with the winner claiming the world number two spot from Barbora Krejcikova.
Conditions suit Sakkari’s game and should have the edge here however if Swiatek can produce a similar level to their match in Doha then it could be the Pole’s match to lose.
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