Aryna Sabalenka will play in the 2023 Indian Wells final after beating Maria Sakkari in straight sets.
Every year from 2018 until 2021, Sabalenka played in a WTA 1000 final. Last year, she reached only two semifinals but she'll be back in such a final in 2023 at the Indian Wells. Previously, she played four WTA 1000 finals and won in all of them.
Going into the semifinal match, Sabalenka lost only once in 2023 and played well in Indian Wells, beating Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals. On the other hand, Sakkari defeated the likes of Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova, and everything was set for a blockbuster. Well, everything except for the tech, which postponed the start by 40 minutes.
The opening set of the clash saw Sabalenka set the tone for the entire match. From the onset, she displayed ferocious shot-making and a relentless attacking style, leaving Sakkari little room to breathe.
Sabalenka's devastating forehand, proved to be a thorn in Sakkari's side, consistently forcing the Greek player onto the back foot. The Belarusian got three breaks in the first set and since her opponent could respond only once, she won it 6-2.
As the second set unfolded, Sakkari attempted to shift the momentum in her favor. She employed her remarkable court coverage to challenge Sabalenka's dominance. However, the Belarusian remained unyielding in her pursuit of victory.
Sabalenka's serve, a critical weapon in her arsenal, proved to be a deciding factor in the match. As the set progressed, Sabalenka's confidence grew, and she continued to dictate play with a combination of power and finesse, painting the lines all over Indian Wells.
In the end, Sabalenka closed out the match with a decisive 6-3 second-set win and advanced to the 2023 Indian Wells final, her first WTA 1000 final since 2021.