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Sabalenka stays calm despite 39-minute delay before semi-final match

The Indian Wells semi-final between Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari was delayed by more than 30 minutes because of audio problems. Sabalenka ended up winning in straight sets.

Aryna Sabalenka during the BNP Paribas Open on March 14, 2023 Aryna Sabalenka during the BNP Paribas Open on March 14, 2023 Image Credit: Icon SMI / Panoramic

The first semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open was schedule for 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon.

Not until 3:39 pm was the first ball struck. And it wasn’t because of a rain delay, either. No, the audio system on Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was not working, and as a result the match between Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari could not begin since the electronic out calls would not be heard by the players or by anyone else.

It first became clear that there was a problem when the players walked onto the court and the introductions could not be heard. Throughout the delay the players remained out on the court while hoping for a quick fix to the issue. More than 30 minutes later, the match finally began.

“For a second I was thinking, like, ‘Oops, something is going wrong today,'” Sabalenka joked in her post-match press conference after beating Sakkari 6-2, 6-3. “It’s not going to be the same. But then I remind myself that that’s okay. Stuff like that can happen, and that’s okay. So I just have to kind of calm down myself and relax and wait till they fix the system.

“(I’m) happy that it didn’t really affect my game.

“Definitely that’s really helped to stay calm and understand that I can control myself in these kind of situation,” the world No 2 added when asked about the different overall feeling that she seems to have this year. “I can switch my focus in these kind of situations and bring myself back on court. That’s help in the future to understand that no matter what’s happening on the court, I can control myself better. That’s helped me to play my best tennis.”

Sabalenka has certainly played her best tennis all season long. She is 18-1 with titles in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. In Sunday’s Indian Wells final she will face Elena Rybakina in a rematch of the Australian Open final.

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