Iga Swiatek swats aside Maria Sakkari for second Indian Wells triumph | Iga Swiatek


Iga Swiatek continued to distance herself from all rivals at the top of the WTA tour as she clinched the Indian Wells title for a second time by dominating Maria Sakkari, the ninth seed, 6-4, 6-0. It is the world No 1’s second WTA 1000 title of the year after she won in Doha last month.

No player on the WTA has swept up significant titles at this rate since Serena Williams was ranked No 1. The 22‑year‑old has now won eight WTA 1000 titles alongside her four grand slam titles and first WTA Finals victory last year, with 19 titles ­overall. Her imperious record in finals also endures; since losing her first in 2019, she has now won 19 of her past 22.

Over the last few decades, a strong measure of sustained greatness is whether a player has won 80% of their matches. Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are all inside that marker, as were Maria Sharapova and Venus ­Williams until the less successful latter years of their careers. Swiatek’s tour‑level win-loss record after her latest ­victory is 216-53 – exactly 80.

Not only is the Pole winning signifi­cant titles so often and playing with consistency, these ­dominant, lopsided results have become ­common in her matches.

With her pace and weight of shot off both wings, her smothering returning and athleticism, many of the best players in the world have no answer to her game when it is in full flow.

Maria Sakkari showed vastly improved form at Indian Wells but was outclassed by Iga Swiatek Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

As is often the case in finals, Swiatek started the match eviscerating the ball and lasering winners from all parts of the court and Sakkari initially did extremely well to hang with her. She managed to match Swiatek’s intensity, using her own supreme athleticism to both chase down as many balls as possible and to put pressure on her opponent by attacking from inside the baseline.

From 4-4 in the opening set, though, Swiatek reestablished her baseline dominance, raising her level again and she blazed through the next eight games to take the title.

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Despite how she was outplayed in the final on Sunday afternoon, this remains an excellent tournament for Sakkari. In recent months the Greek has been devoid of self-belief on the court and her career seemed to have stagnated. She finally took the decision to part with her longtime British coach, Tom Hill, and she has enlisted David Witt, who recently split from Jessica Pegula. Her progress this fortnight is validation of their early work together.



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