(Indian Wells) Aryna Sabalenka, 2nd player in the world, winner of the last Australian Open, qualified for the final of the Indian Wells tournament, beating 6-2, 6-3 the Greek Maria Sakkari (7th), Friday in California.
The 24-year-old Belarusian, who is reaching this stage of the event for the first time, will face the Polish world No.1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek or the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (10th).
More aggressive and consistent, Sabalenka controlled the game without batting an eyelid, which started more than half an hour late because the referee’s microphone was not working to make announcements.
“Maria is a great player, when you play her you know it will be difficult, so I’m very happy with this victory,” she reacted hotly.
She broke three times in the first set, showing no mercy in return on Sakkari’s second serves, with 11 points won from 14 played.
The slugging fight continued with the same results in the second set, with the Belarusian continuing to manhandle the 27-year-old Greek, who appeared somewhat borrowed. Perhaps this is due to the fact that she had already spent more than twice as long as her rival on the courts, to reach the last four.
She, who was aiming for a second consecutive final in the Californian desert, resisted by calling off the break to come back at 2-2, when she missed an opportunity to resume the service of Sabalenka, somewhat on the back. But the latter was able to rely on a solid first ball to win her bet, then escape definitively and equalize with four victories everywhere in their confrontations.
Since his first major title in January in Melbourne, great confidence has been inhabiting this Belarusian, who has lost only one game out of 18 played in 2023.
She who had never yet passed the 8th in Indian Wells can confirm this momentum. “This tournament feels like a grand slam, I really want to win it,” she concluded.