Paula Badosa’s winning streak in Indian Wells came to an end this Saturday with an unappealable defeat against Maria Sakkariwho almost always took the initiative in the match to win by 6-2, 4-6 and 6-1 in 1h48. “I’ve worked my whole life to get to a final like this,” the 26-year-old Greek and world number 6, who will face the Polish Iga Swiatek on Sunday (9:00 p.m., Teledeporte and DAZN)who defeated the Romanian Simona Halep (7-6 (6) and 6-4 in 1h49).
The Spanish, current champion, did not know the defeat in the tournament (10-1 now) and tried to be the second to revalidate it after the legendary Martina Navratilova, who did it in 1990 and 1991. Not easy. And it couldn’t be, among other things, because everything that happened in the game depended on the successes and mistakes of his rival. In addition, Paula did not have a good day with the serve, the double faults returned (seven) and she could not connect any ace. Only in the second set did she achieve a high percentage of firsts (72%). The pressure from the Athenian, a very physical, fast, aggressive and feisty tennis player, was constant. And Badosa lacked that security with which he had handled himself in previous days. He was barely able to land winners (only two in the first set) against an opponent who practically touched all his deliveries.
𝐵𝒾𝑔𝑔𝑒𝓈𝓉 end of her career 🤩
— wta (@WTA) March 19, 2022
Too bad, because the match started well for her, with a break. But then the Sakkari tornado started up and passed over her. A fantastic game, 2-1 in the second set, made the Catalan believe in her chances of coming back. They were the best minutes of her game, in which she found solutions to mitigate the until then unstoppable momentum of Sakkari. However, the fire returned to Helena’s racket, which opened the third quarter with a threatening 2-0 and good feelings. Paula recovered with a Nadal-style intern, from the outside to the inside, but her reaction stopped there, and in a seen and not seen triumph escaped him. Maria deserved it and that’s why the Spanish number one, who she had won in her only previous duel (at the last WTA Finals), gave her a sincere hug before leaving the court with tears in her eyes.
He has to cheer up, because he leaves the California desert after showing that he will be up there if nothing goes wrong and that he can fight for the Grand Slams if it fixes little things like reaction time to move forward. She will return next week in Miami as sixth in the ranking. Sakkari, for its part, will play its second final this year (it was runner-up in Saint Petersburg), it is already the third and has options to be second if he lifts the trophy. She has played at least seven semi-finals in her last ten tournaments and consistency usually pays off.
Results of the WTA 1,000 of Indian Wells.