Elena Rybakina created a sensation in the semi-finals in Indian Wells by eliminating defending champion and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. The Kazakh will face Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari’s faller, in the final.
Accustomed to inflicting beatings on her opponents for a year, Iga Swiatek received one this Friday in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells tournament, of which she was the defending champion! Opposed to the winner of the last Wimbledon Elena Rybakina, the Pole received a tennis lesson, losing 6-2, 6-2 in 1h16. Faced with the same Rybakina who eliminated her in the round of 16 of the Australian Open in January (6-4, 6-4), the world No. 1 failed to find the key. In particular, she suffered a lot from the aggressive return of the Kazakh, who converted five break points on five occasions! Rybakina took the opposing serve at 1-0 and 5-2 in the first set (while saving two balls from 3-2). And in the second set, she broke at 1-0 and 3-0, then lost her serve at 5-1 when she had just missed two match points. But it is only a postponement for the 23-year-old player, who did not leave the slightest hope to the queen of the circuit by breaking her again at 5-2.
What a victory! Elena Rybakina, guaranteed to climb to at least 8th in the world (highest career ranking), will play her twelfth final and try to win her fourth title (the first since Wimbledon). As for Iga Swiatek, she loses her title and 610 points in California. She will now head to Florida to try to keep her trophy in Miami. But be careful, because Aryna Sabalenka is starting to get closer in the standings…
A remake of the Melbourne final!
The Belarusian, in sparkling form since the start of the season, will indeed be Rybakina’s opponent in the final, thanks to her victory over Maria Sakkari. Finalist last year against Swiatek, the Greek did not exist against the world No. 2 and will still have to wait to win a major title. Sabalenka won 6-2, 6-3 in 1:24 to sign its fifth victory in eight games against Sakkari. The Australian Open winner got off to the best start by leading 3-1, and while Sakkari immediately broke to come back to 2-3, she conceded her serve twice again, and thus the set.
Almost identical scenario in the second set, where the Belarusian led 2-0, then the Greek came back to 2-2, before conceding her face-off at 3-2. The Belarusian finished without shaking at 5-3 on her first match point and here she is in the final for the 21st time in her career. She will aim for her thirteenth title against the one she beat in the Australian Open final (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) and against whom she has never lost in four confrontations (always match in three sets).