World No.6 Maria Sakkari beat defending champion Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday night to reach the biggest final of her career at Indian Wells.
The Greek tennis player, who had previously won just 12 of her past 14 semi-finals, broke down in tears after overcoming the Spaniard 6-2 4-6 6-1.
The win sets up a battle for No.2 Iga Swiatek on Sunday, as Sakkari looks to end No.4 Iga Swiatek’s 10-match winning streak to win the biggest title of her career.
Recall that Poland’s Swiatek beat Romanian Simona Halep 7-6 (7-6) 6-4 to register her 10th consecutive victory.
Sakkari has won one title on the WTA Tour – at the Morocco Open in 2019 – but found more consistency last year, reaching the French Open and US Open semi-finals.
Sakkari said: “I’m turning 27 this year, which is not old, but not young as well, and I’m just more mature and things change in that age.
“Having a team like the one I have that constantly repeat that they believe in you, trust you and they’re just very proud no matter what, it makes things a lot easier.”
Sakkari leads the head-to-head with Swiatek 3-1, but Swiatek won their most recent meeting at the Qatar Open in February.