Indian Wells: Elena Rybakina stuns Iga Swiatek, will meet Aryna Sabalenka in final after Belarusian beats Maria Sakkari


Elena Rybakina is through to the Indian Wells final after a straight sets 6-2 6-2 victory over world No.1 Iga Swiatek.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina put in another impressive performance against the defending champion Swiatek, requiring just one hour and 17 minutes to emerge victorious.

It is the second time Rybakina has got the better of Swiatek this season after beating her at the Australian Open, and the defeat ends the Pole’s dream of becoming the first woman to defend the title at Indian Wells since Martina Navratilova in 1991.

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Rybakina will now turn her attention to Aryna Sabalenka in what is a repeat of this year’s Australian Open final.

“I really played well today, it was a really nice atmosphere tonight,” Rybakina said in her on-court interview.

“I didn’t expect I would play that well today. I had nothing to lose, I just wanted to enjoy. I think it was one of my best matches this season.”

ga Swiatek of Poland and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan shake hands at the net after their semi-final match on Day 12 of the 2023 BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 17, 2023 in Indian Wells, California.

Image credit: Getty Images

The writing seemed to be on the wall for Swiatek from the beginning as Rybakina broke early to take a 2-0 lead and clinched the first set in 36 minutes after Swiatek made a double fault on set point.

Rybakina took the first set against Swiatek in 36 minutes and raced to a 4-0 lead in the second.

Swiatek tested her opponent’s serve in the opening game of the second set, but Rybakina held her nerve and then took control to take a 5-0 lead.

Swiatek held her serve at 5-1 and claimed her first break to make the second 5-2 but the damage had already been done.

Meanwhile, Sabalenka overcame Maria Sakkari 6-2 6-3 to reach her third final of the season.

Sabalenka needed just one hour and 23 minutes to power past her opponent.

“I’m just super happy with another final and super happy with the win against Maria,” Sabalenka said in her post-match press conference.

“She’s such a great fighter, and it’s always tough matches against her.

“I feel really good on court right now, but I also have understanding that it’s not going to be the same all the time.

“So that’s why I keep working hard, make sure in those days when things are not working my way, I still will be able to compete and to get these wins.”

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