Maria Sakkari continued her steady run this season by defeating Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the 2022 Indian Wells. Although she is yet to win a title, Sakkari has been one of the most consistent players on tour this year. After her closely fought win against the Kazakh she is into the semi-finals for the third consecutive tournament.
The Greek had a relatively easy run to the quarters, but against Rybakina she found herself on the back foot in the opening set as she fell 1-4 behind. She then pegged back by leveling the scores, before getting the decisive break and clinching the first set. The second set was a straightforward one as Sakkari got the sole break needed and held her nerves to book a place in her 5th WTA 1000 semi-final.
Sakkari, well known for her athleticism, called it her strong point. However, the 5th seed said she is delighted over the progress she has made on other aspects of the game. She pointed out her shortcomings as well, She said the mental aspect of her game needs to be improved. The Greek often fails to hold her nerves and falters at the business end of tournaments, she has a 0-4 record in the semis of the WTA 1000 tournament.
“I mean, my physicality is something that I think it’s probably the strongest part of my game. I feel like I’ve improved on my serve, I’ve improved on my groundstrokes. I don’t have a huge hole in my game. There are a lot of things that I can improve, which is something good. Especially mentally, sometimes I have to just be a little bit stronger. But I’m working on that and I think I’ll get where I want to get,” she said.
Maria Sakkari to take on Paula Badosa in the last-4
Sakkari will next take on defending champion Paula Badosa, who got the better of Veronika Kudermetova in the quarter-finals. Sakkari has had quite the same trajectory as the Spaniard since last season. The duo had their breakthrough last season and debuted in the top-10 and along with Iga Swiatek, they are in the running for the No.2 spot.
However, the major difference is the silverware. And this might be the telling point during their clash. But Sakkari said she fancies her chances of winning. This will be the second meeting of the duo, with Badosa getting the better of Sakkari in straight sets at the year-ending WTA Finals.
“I’m confident: I know I can beat her, but I can lose. She’s a top-10 player for the last six or seven months. I think it’s going to be a very tough match for both of us,” she added.