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Sakkari overcomes Kvitova to reach Indian Wells semi-finals

2022 finalist Maria Sakkari is back in the Indian Wells semis after coming back to beat Petra Kvitova on Wednesday. Sakkari will next meet Aryna Sabalenka.

Maria Sakkari Indian Wells 2023 AI/Reuters/Panoramic
BNP Paribas Open •Quarter-final • completed
See draw

Maria Sakkari is one win away from making it back to the BNP Paribas Open final.

Sakkari, who finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek last year in Indian Wells, made a return trip to the semis by beating Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Wednesday night. The No 7 seed came back from a set and 3-1 down in the second to prevail after two hours and 15 minutes.

Sakkari: “I just told myself to keep trying and keep fighting”

Kvitova, who saved multiple match points to beat Jessica Pegula one day earlier, took control by breaking Sakkari at love in the opening game of set two. The left-hander had a chance to all but end the match when she earned a 15-40 chance to take a 4-1, double-break advantage. But that’s when it all turned around. Sakkari managed to hold for 2-3 and then broke for 3-3 even though Kvitova led 40-0 to go up 4-2.

Those missed opportunities doomed the Czech, who eventually got broken at 5-6 (from 40-15 ahead) and never recovered in the third.

“I don’t know,” Sakkari said when asked how she got it done. “I think the first set and a half I felt like an amateur. She was playing very, very [well]. I just didn’t know what to do. But then I just told myself just to keep trying and keep fighting. Eventually I started playing better, which was a good thing. It was a lifesaver, yes.”
Sakkari, ranked No 7, will face No 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semis.

Earlier in the tournament, Sakkari defeated American Shelby Rogers (2-6, 6-4, 6-0), Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, the No 27 seed (3-6, 6-2, 6-4) and Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No 17 seed (6-4, 5-7, 6-3).

Kvitova, ranked No 15, previously got the best of American wildcard Elizabeth Mandlik (6-1, 7-5), Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, the No 24 seed (0-6, 6-0, 6-4) and American Jessica Pegula, the No 3 seed (6-2, 3-6, 7-6(11)).

Indian Wells WTA 1000, other quarter-final results:

  • Iga Swiatek vs. Sorana Cirstea
  • Karolina Muchova vs. Elena Rybakina
  • Aryna Sabalenka beat Coco Gauff (6): 6-4, 6-0
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