The WTA semifinalists in the Indian Wells has the best women's singles players this season. Who has the best chances of making the final and perhaps winning the title?
The women's singles semifinals of the Indian Wells is one to anticipate, as four of the best players in the WTA will be gunning for the two spots in the final.
Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, and Elena Rybakina are the four semifinalists in the running to win the tennis paradise title, and each has equal chances of achieving this based on their performances in the past year.
Here is a look into their journey at the WTA 1000 tournament, their chances of making the final, and taking the prestigious title.
The Pole is world No. 1 for a reason and has proven why she's the best player in the WTA Tour, breaking records and rewriting stats in each round of the Indian Wells.
Swiatek easily defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3 in their quarterfinal match, maintaining her record of not losing a set since the start of the tournament.
According to Opta Ace, the defending champion has won all first 40 career WTA-1000 main draw matches when she has won the opening set, and 39 of these wins have been in straight sets.
Also, she is the fourth player to win 16+ main draw matches in a row at the Sunshine Double (Indian Wells and Miami) after Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams. And finally, she is the second player to stay unbeaten in her first six WTA-1000 quarterfinals played after Maria Sharapova - since 2009.
Swiatek is in incredible shape ahead of the semifinals and has a huge chance of qualifying for the final, for an opportunity to successfully defend her title.
The No. 10 seed had a mature win over Karolina Muchova in the quarterfinal, scoring 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-4 to reach her first Indian Wells semifinals.
Rybakina is the first Kazakh player to reach the semifinals in a single WTA-1000 tournament - since 2009 and has the qualities to go one better when she faces Swiatek.
Both players met earlier this year at the Australian Open, where Rybakina took down the world No. 1, engineering a major upset in the round of 16 and plowed on to reach her second major final in Melbourne.
With the conditions and environment now different, Swiatek is riding on so much confidence now, going on a 10-match winning streak and bidding to complete the first successful women’s singles title defense at Indian Wells since Martina Navratilova in 1991.
It will be a tough match between both players, and though the bookies favour Swiatek to get the win, one can never write off Rybakina to cause another upset.
The Australian Open champion has had a renewed mindset since winning her first career Grand Slam in Melbourne.
Against Coco Gauff in the semis, the No.2 seed dropped just nine points on serve in the match, winning 6-4, 6-0. At 16-1 in the season, with a win this week in the round of 16 over the only player that has defeated her in 2023 (Barbora Krejcikova), Sabalenka has finally entered the prime of her career.
The Belarussian will surely want to prove that winning the Australian Open was no fluke by showing every means to play in the final and perhaps win the title.
Referred to as the queen of comebacks at this tournament, Sakkari is the third player to reach the WTA semifinals in Indian Wells with three comeback wins en route to the last four, after Elena Dementieva in 2005 and Swiatek in 2022.
The Greek battled past Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals to meet Sabalenka in the semis.
In an on-court interview after her match, the No.7 seed was full of praises for Sabalenka.
“I knew that she was gonna win a Grand Slam. It actually came, and I was very happy for her.
“She’s a very nice girl. She’s very fun to be around. It’s going to be very, very tough, because she’s feeling the ball well. “She’s gonna be a different player, and I respect that. I’m ready for it,” Sakkari said.
Sakkari, who has been the most resilient performer in the women’s draw, winning three matches from a set down and going 4-0 in deciders, will have to find something special to take Sabalenka out of the final.