Indian Wells, Mar 18 (AP): Elena Rybakina fired seven aces in routing top-ranked Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the BNP Paribas Open final. Rybakina will play second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who beat Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3, in Sunday's final in the Southern California desert. WTA Gives Formal Warning to Anastasia Potapova for Wearing Russian Football Team Spartak Moscow’s Shirt at Indian Wells.
“It's going to be huge,” said Sabalenka, who won the doubles title in 2019.
“This tournament feels like a Grand Slam. I really want to hold this trophy as a singles champion.”
Rybakina needed just 76 minutes to finish off Swiatek, the defending champion. She won 82% of her first serve points. Rybakina also beat the Polish star at the Australian Open in January on her way to finishing runner-up.
Swiatek had won 10 straight matches in the desert until being stopped Friday.
Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, improved to 17-1 this year.
Sabalenka took control against Sakkari, seeded seventh, from the start. She attacked the Greek's second serve, winning 20 of 26 points off it. Sakkari, runner-up in last year's final, fell to 3-5 in her career against Sabalenka.
Sakkari reached the semifinals by rallying from a set down three times and going 4-0 in deciding sets.
But Sabalenka was too dominant. She won the final three games, including two services, to take the first set, 6-2. Sania Mirza Expresses Gratitude to PM Narendra Modi After Receiving Heartfelt Letter.
Sabalenka led 2-0 in the second before Sakkari tied it 2-all. From there, Sabalenka won four of the final five games to close out the match in 1 1/2 hours.
“Just super happy right now,” Sabalenka said on court. "Maria's such a great player and I knew it was going to be tough." (AP)
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