"Maybe things would have been different" - Maria Sakkari bemoans 'long' SF battle against Coco Gauff after losing to Iga Swiatek in Indian Wells final

Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff
Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff

Maria Sakkari has voiced her regrets regarding her marathon battle against Coco Gauff in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Open following her loss to Iga Swiatek in the final.

After beating Diana Shnaider, Caroline Garcia, Diane Parry and Emma Navarro, Sakkari set up a blockbuster semifinal clash against Gauff at the WTA 1000 event. The Greek got off to a dominant start, clinching the opener 6-4. She had an opportunity to close out the win in the second set, but Gauff fended off three match points to force a decider.

While Sakkari eventually won 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory after a two-hour and 42-minute battle, she admitted that she would have preferred the match to have ended an hour earlier.

"I don’t want to disrespect Coco, but it would’ve been amazing if this match was over an hour ago," Maria Sakkari said in her on-court interview.

Maria Sakkari took on Iga Swiatek in the title clash in a rematch of the 2022 Indian Wells final, where the Pole claimed a straight-set victory. After a competitive opening set, the World No. 1 won eight straight games to secure a commanding 6-4, 6-0 victory to clinch her second title at the WTA 1000 event.

Following her loss, Sakkari acknowledged Swiatek's stellar performance while admitting that fatigue played a factor, stemming from her lengthy and arduous semifinal clash against Coco Gauff.

The 28-year-old emphasized the importance of closing out matches, suggesting that the outcome could have been different if she wasn't tired from her previous encounter.

"I don't think she was trying anything different. Yeah, I think I was a little bit tired, I have to say. Not that it's an excuse. I'm not saying that. She still played very good," Maria Sakkari said in her post-match press conference.
"You know, probably maybe things would have been different for me, like, the way I felt on the court if my previous match didn't go, you know, as long as it went. You know, that's why it's important to close out matches when you have to," she added.

The Greek also pointed out that Swiatek's penchant to close out her wins in straight sets played to her advantage during the later stages of tournaments, as she was typically less fatigued than her opponents.

"I feel like that's why, you know, Iga does so well. If you look at her records, she rarely plays three sets. Then that really helps her in those later stages of the tournament," she said.

Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff to be in action at Miami Open 2024 next

Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari

Maria Sakkari, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff will be back in action at the 2024 Miami Open, which commences on March 19.

Following a first-round bye, top seed Swiatek will take on the winner of Camila Giorgi and Magdalena Frech. The Pole is looking to become only the second woman, after Steffi Graf (in 1994 and 1996) to complete the Sunshine Double twice, having achieved the feat for the first time in 2022.

Gauff, meanwhile, will enter the tournament as the third seed, taking on either Ashlyn Krueger or a qualifier in the second round. No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari, meanwhile, faces the winner between Anna Blinkova and Yue Yuan.

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Edited by Urvi Mehra
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