Maria Sakkari’s dream run at the 2022 Indian Wells came to end with a straight-set loss to 3rd seed Iga Swiatek in the finals. The Greek was playing in her maiden WTA 1000 final, but couldn’t cross the final hurdle as she lost 6-4, 6-1.
The stakes were high for the final, as not only a WTA 1000 title but also the World No.2 ranking was on the line. But it was the Pole who quickly adjusted to the windy conditions and got the decisive break to win the opening set. Sakkari’s title fight dwindled in the next set and she once again failed to cross the final hurdle. Nevertheless, it was a spirited run from Sakkari who will rise two spots to a new career-high of World No.3 in the standings, making her the highest-ranked female player in the Open Era in Greek tennis history.
“It was a week that will have a special place in my heart“: Maria Sakkari
Sakkari might have lost the final, but was delighted with the progress she made. She will be joining Stefanos Tsitsipas as the only Greek player to occupy the No.3 spot in the rankings. Sakkari spoke about how she and Tsitsipas have brought about a new paradigm change for tennis in Greece and also about having two players representing Greece in the top-5. Sakkari and Tsitsipas have been at the forefront of Greek tennis over the past few years and this historic milestone also means that Greece is one of the just two nations, along with Spain, currently to have top 5 players in both the men’s and the women’s rankings.
“I can’t believe there’s only two girls above me right now. Whoever followed my steps the last couple of years, they know what that means to me. I’m very proud that myself and Stefanos have actually grown tennis in Greece. Having two players in that ranking position is something huge for us. I’m going to say it again, but I’m very proud of myself this week,” she said in her post-match presser.
The Greek was playing in the biggest final of her career and put on a sturdy performance against a resurgent Swiatek. She remarked how her run at the Indian Wells was significant to her after finally crossing a mental hurdle by reaching the finals. Sakkari is now eager to put her loss behind her and has already set sights on the Miami Open.
“I think I played some very, very good matches. I really believe I took a step forward this week, even though I lost today. It was a week that will have a special place in my heart. I know it sounds kind of weird because I did not win the tournament, but I felt like I improved as a player this week. I think it’s a perfect situation right now because I won’t go away mentally. I’m going to have a couple days off and I’ll be ready for it, Miami, because I think it’s a tournament that suits me,” she concluded.