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Iga Swiatek Reigns Supreme Once More In The Desert, Wins Second BNP Paribas Open Title
3 Min Read · March 17, 2024

Switched on and locked in. 

When it comes to high stakes tennis on the biggest stages in the sport, World No.1 Iga Swiatek knows how to shine. On a bright, sunny afternoon in the California desert, the standard bearer for women’s tennis was once again a picture of supreme concentration and efficiency as she battled past Maria Sakkari for her second BNP Paribas Open title in three years, winning 6-4, 6-0. 

“It’s amazing standing here again,” Swiatek told the crowd after raising the trophy for a second time. 

Sakkari entered Sunday’s final with high hopes, as one of just four players to have faced Swiatek multiple times and come away with a winning record (3-2 prior to the final), but it was Swiatek who continued her recent run of domination over the former World No. 3 in Stadium 1, winning a hard-fought tussle to improve to 19-4 lifetime in WTA Tour finals, and 18-2 for her career at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Swiatek's win makes her the 10th multi-time champion in BNP Paribas Open history.

The now two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Swiatek dropped just 21 games over the course of the fortnight – a stunning average of 3.5 games per match. She has won her last three matches and six sets over Sakkari, dropping just 15 games in the process. 

Since their last meeting in the 2022 final at Indian Wells, Swiatek and Sakkari have taken divergent paths. Swiatek became the World No.1 two weeks after her triumph in the desert, supplanting retired Ashleigh Barty, and has not looked back – the Pole will commence her 95th week atop the WTA rankings on Monday, good for tenth most weeks in WTA history. Sakkari, meanwhile, slipped from her standard for 18 months, and even dipped out of the Top 10 for a spell earlier this year.

But the resurgent Greek, now coached by David Witt, the former muse to Venus Williams and – more recently –  late-blooming American Jessica Pegula, caught fire in the desert this week. 

Sakkari captured a trio of three-setters, including an epic two hour and 41-minute slugfest with Coco Gauff in the semifinals, her first Top-3 win since 2022. Sakkari entered Sunday’s final having won 14 of her last 16 matches at Indian Wells, but met her match Sunday facing Swiatek like so many others on the WTA Tour who have felt the sting of the Pole’s punishing, physical ground game.

“I just loved every minute of it,” a smiling Sakkari said on the podium as she received her runner-up trophy. “Hopefully next time I can come back stronger.” 

Sakkari did have her moments. Urged on by the crowd after falling behind in the opening set, the 28-year-old hit her stride after a shaky start, rallying from 3-0 down to get back on serve. But from 4-4, it was the 22-year-old who took her opportunities, breaking Sakkari with a trademark inside-out forehand winner on her third set point for 6-4. 

Now in full flight, Swiatek pushed on in the second set, clicking through the gears as she stretched her run of consecutive games won to eight and closed out her third 6-0 set of the tournament to lock down victory in one hour and eight scintillating minutes. 

Like a race car idling before pulling out of a pit stop, or a thoroughbred nosing to the starting gate at Churchill Downs, Swiatek’s movement and athleticism inspire awe. Add to that the stunning spin she imparts on the ball, and the clinical precision she manages from the baseline and it’s not hard to see how she can regularly race away from the competition. 

At just 22-years-old, Swiatek joins nine other legends at the top of the BNP Paribas Open all-time women’s singles title list with two – with a decade or more of world-class tennis in front of her, it’s easy to think the record will belong to the Polish juggernaut in relatively short order.

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