Swiatek beats Sakkari to win Indian Wells, No. 2 ranking

Iga Swiatek, of Poland, reacts after winning the women's singles finals over Maria Sakkari, of Greece, at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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AP Sports Writer

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Iga Swiatek defeated Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-1 Sunday in an error-filled final to win the BNP Paribas Open.

Swiatek will rise from fourth to a career-best No. 2 in the world in Monday’s WTA Tour rankings, trailing top-ranked Ash Barty, who skipped Indian Wells. Sakkari will move from sixth to No. 3, the rising Greek star’s highest ranking yet.

Swiatek lost each of the first three times she played Sakkari, all last year. Last month, the 20-year-old Polish player beat Sakkari in the semifinals at Doha and went on to win the title.

Now, Swiatek has five career titles, including the 2020 French Open. Her new ranking equals the highest ever by a Polish player, matching Agnieszka Radwanska, who also reached No. 2.

Gusty winds affected serves and shots by both players, who had seven double faults each. There were seven service breaks in the first set alone, with Swiatek holding twice. Sakkari held once to tie the set, 4-all.

Swiatek won the next game to go up 5-4. Sakkari led 40-30 on her serve, but a double fault gave Swiatek her third break point, and she cashed in on Sakkari’s netted backhand to take the set.

Swiatek broke twice in the second set for a 5-1 lead. She served out the match, winning on a forehand in the corner of the baseline.

Swiatek earned $1.2 million and improved her record to a WTA Tour-leading 20-3 this year, including 11 matches in a row.