The first WTA semifinal has been set in Indian Wells! Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka looks to win her second big title of the year in what is already her best Indian Wells result of her career. The WTA draw has been surprisingly more predictable than usual, with the #2 Sabalenka and #7 seed Maria Sakkari both elite players fighting for the title. Sabalenka seems to have as good a chance of anyone at the title with her dominant form in the event and all year long. Sakkari has had to grind out all of her wins but somehow seems to find a way and will hope to continue to do the same. Both players will have a day of rest to prepare as fans await the other quarterfinal results.
WTA Indian Wells Women’s Semifinal Prediction
Aryna Sabalenka vs Maria Sakkari
Head-to-head: 4-3 Sabalenka
Sabalenka has been truly insane this year and is already on her way to a career year. She has a 16-1 record so far in 2023 and has been nearly unstoppable in those matches. Sabalenka had always struggled with inconsistency but seems to have overcome a lot of those struggles. The first ten matches she played on the year were straight set wins, with just three of her 16 match wins going the distance. Her one loss was in Dubai to Barbora Krejcikova who went on to win the event, and Sabalenka was able to get quick revenge by beating Krejcikova here in the fourth round.
While Sabalenka finally got over the hump and won her first big title, Sakkari has yet to do so despite having plenty of talent. She did finally get past her semifinal block by making two WTA 1000 finals last year but did not have a title. While she has done a great job finding a way to win, she has dropped the first set in three of her four matches at Indian Wells. She showed her ability to fight back but will have to be sharper against a player of Sabalenka’s caliber. Slower courts will hopefully help her get behind Sabalenka’s huge serve and have more chances on return, which she must take advantage of to have a chance.
Sabalenka has looked nearly impossible to beat in 2023 and this match will be no different. She has not only been the more dominant player this week, but she will be fresher after dispatching Coco Gauff in just 65 minutes in her quarterfinal. A day of rest will help Sakkari but playing long matches has cost her in late rounds in the past. She has spend 9 hours and 35 minutes on court here compared to just 4 hours and 16 minutes for Sabalenka, who has rapidly won her matches and had the benefit of a walkover. The match will be power on power, just like the Australian Open that went in Sabalenka’s favor. Sabalenka is playing at the top of her game and has too many advantages and will get the win.
Prediction: Sabalenka in 2
Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports