Maria Sakkari defeated defending champion Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 on Friday night at Indian Wells to advance to a BNP Paribas Open final showdown with Iga Swiatek.
“I worked my entire life to get to these late stages of the tournament,” Sakkari said on court after the win.
“I know it looks silly to everyone – it’s not like I won the tournament, I’m in the final – but it’s a big deal to me.”
Sakkari dominated the opening set, hitting 11 winners to the Spaniard’s two in just 37 minutes.
But Badosa powered back ion the second, landing 72 per cent of her serves and breaking Sakkari twice as she forced the match to a decider.
The third though, was like the first, as Sakkari broke for a 2-0 lead and from 2-1 raced away to claim the match in 108 minutes of play.