Sabalenka easily defeated Sakkari and became the first finalist of the 2023 Indian Wells tournament.

Saturday, 18 March 2023 at 01:28
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Aryna Sabalenka won in straight sets to Maria Sakkari and reached her third final of the season at the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Open.
Sakkari reached the final of Indian Wells in 2022 and this year was just one victory away from being a finalist for the second consecutive year. On her way, she defeated Shelby Rogers, Anhelina Kalinina, former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, and 2-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova. But in the semifinals, she faced the best tennis player of 2023 so far and the champion of the Australian Open this year.
The Belarusian has had two brilliant weeks in California. She won her first match against Yevguenia Rodina, only conceding two games. Then she had a walkover against Tsurenko, a hard-fought match against Barbora Krejcikova in the quarterfinals, and an impressive victory over Coco Gauff, where she even achieved a bagel.
Sabalenka lost her serve twice during the match with Sakkari but also broke her opponent's serve five times and was practically ahead on the scoreboard for the entire match. The first set had several unforced errors from the Greek player, especially on her serve. Additionally, Sabalenka responded well to Sakkari's first serve, preventing her from dominating the points.
In the second set, Sakkari showed a renewed attitude, playing more aggressive shots to try to change the match and take it to a third set. She lost her first service game but managed to break back in the next game. After that, the dominance was absolute for the world No. 2, who ended the match 6-2, 6-3 and became the first finalist of the tournament.
Sabalenka has already won four Masters 1000 titles, twice in Wuhan, one in Doha, and the most recent one in Madrid 2021. The Belarusian has never lost a final of a tournament in this category and will seek to maintain that statistic when she plays the final against the winner of the match between Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina.

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