- Iga Swiatek is on a 10-match winning streak as she tries to win the title at Indian Wells
- Maria Sakkari bucked a 4-15 trend in WTA semifinals to reach the biggest final of her career
- Sakkari holds a 3-1 head-to-head vs Swiatek; read on as we break down Sunday’s matchup
Iga Swiatek was expected to be in the Indian Wells Masters women’s final.
She was the favorite going into the tournament.
Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari was way down the list. But she has a shot at winning the biggest title of her career Sunday.
Swiatek vs Sakkari Odds
| Iga Swiatek (POL)||-3.5 (-115)||-200||O 21.5 (-105)|
| Maria Sakkari (GRE)||+3.5 (-120)||+165||U 21.5 (-135)|
Odds as of March 19 See these BetMGM promo codes before you bet on these odds.
There is a lot at stake in this match. And it’s not only the ranking points for winning (1,000) or the winner’s cheque for $1.23 million.
The winner of the 2022 edition of this tournament will become the new world No. 2 in the rankings.
Swiatek Swats Away Halep
Swiatek was the favorite to beat No. 24 seed Simona Halep in the semifinals. But Halep was favored by many to pull off the upset, as a former No. 1 and a former champion of the Indian Wells tournament.
The 30-year-old had an issue with her quad, which required a strapping during the match. But mostly the problem was too much Swiatek.
She defeated Halep 7-6 (6), 6-4 even if Halep had every chance in the first set.
After losing the first set in her first three matches and having to come back to get the win, Swiatek has now defeated Madison Keys (in a rout) and Halep in straight sets.
Sakkari Fights Through Semifinal Ceiling
As much as Sakkari has proven a steady performer through to the pointy end of tournaments over the last year, she has had trouble breaking through that semifinal glass ceiling.
Last 15 semifinals and finals played by 🇬🇷Sakkari:
Only title: Rabat, April 2019
— Juan Ignacio (not just Juan) (@jiastaburuagac) March 19, 2022
She’s 4-15 in her career when she gets to the final four. And she only has one (small) title to her name – in Rabat, Morocco on clay nearly three years ago.
On Thursday against defending champion Paula Badosa, Sakkari played arguably one one of the best sets she’s ever played in winning it 6-2, and sending Badosa scrambling for solutions.
The Spaniard did – for a time. But in the end, Badosa hit the wall a little bit and Sakkari raised her level again in a somewhat surprising 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 win.
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Swiatek vs Sakkari Head-to-Head
|20 (May 30, 2001)||Age||26 (July 24, 1995)|
|Warsaw, Poland||Birthplace||Athens, Greece|
|4||Career WTA Singles Titles||1|
|1||Career Grand Slam Titles||0|
|No. 4 (Sept. 26, 2021)||Career High Ranking||No. 6 (Oct. 31, 2021)|
|No. 4||Current Ranking||No. 6|
|$5,961,473||Career Prize Money||$6,009,493|
|19-3||2022 Won/Loss record||16-4|
|1||Career Head to Head||3|
Swiatek the Favorite, Sakkari leads H2H
The best match by which to find relevant comparisons for the Indian Wells final is probably the most recent one, in Dubai semifinals.
Why? Because Swiatek was playing well again, after having a lot of ups and downs in 2021.
Even though it was the most recent example of Sakkari’s semis struggles.
Swiatek vs Sakkari Match History
|2022||Doha (SF)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 6-3||Swiatek|
|2021||WTA Finals (RR)||Outdoor Hard||6-2, 6-4||Sakkari|
|2021||Ostrava (SF)||Indoor Hard||6-4, 7-5||Sakkari|
|2021||French Open (QF)||Outdoor Clay||6-4, 6-4||Sakkari|
Notably, Sakkari defeated her three times last year. But there were always circumstances.
In the quarterfinals of the French Open, Swiatek was dealing with all the pressure that came with defending her 2020 title.
Iga in tears as she faces triple match point. Gives her back to the net as Sakkari waits for her. Gets a time violation. Then nets a return to lose 6-2, 6-4 to the Greek. Sakkari pulled her in for a hug at the net. Swiatek walks off court with a towel over her head.
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) November 11, 2021
And during their match in the WTA Finals round-robin, Swiatek was going through … all sorts of drama. On-court tears in the middle of the match was just the least of it.
Who Will Win? It Starts With “S”
There have been moments, when Swiatek is winning a tournament, that she plays and acts as though absolutely no one is going to get in the way.
Over the last few round of Indian Wells, it has felt like that.
She’s aggressive enough on serve return that she can go after Sakkari’s second delivery. And she’s able to change direction well enough that she can prevent Sakkari from using her favored forehand on her “plus-one”
shot after the return.
That’s what Badosa was able to successfully do in the second set of the semis, the set she won.
Best Bet: Swiatek in Three Sets (+150)
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