Indian Wells: Coco Gauff fails to set up Iga Swiatek final after losing SF thriller

It all seemed to be set for a Gauff and Swiatek final in Indian Wells but Sakkari had other plans.

by Dzevad Mesic
Indian Wells: Coco Gauff fails to set up Iga Swiatek final after losing SF thriller
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

A highly-anticipated Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek Indian Wells final won't be happening after all after the American tennis star got upset by Maria Sakkari. 

On Friday, world No. 1 Swiatek dominantly sealed an Indian Wells final ticket by destroying Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-1. In the semifinal that followed, Gauff was expected to get the job done and set up a Swiatek final but Sakkari had other plans as she beat the third-seeded American 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-2 in a match that featured two rain delays. 

Against Kostyuk, Swiatek controlled the match right from the start as the top-seeded Pole broke the Ukrainian in the third and fifth games en route to easily winning the opener. After routinely winning the first set, Swiatek was even more dominant in the second set as she broke Kostyuk three times en route to sealing a very dominant two-set win.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Gauff saved three match points but then lost in three sets to Sakkari

After a calm first eight games where not a single break point was seen, Sakkari earned the first break points and the break in the ninth game to go 5-4 up. In the following game, Sakkari routinely served out for the first set as she converted her first set point.

Up by a set, Sakkari also opened a very comfortable second-set lead when she broke Gauff in the third and seventh games for a 5-2 lead. 

With Gauff down by a set and two breaks, it seemed that the match was over. But then, Gauff stunningly got the first break back in the eighth game and then also saved three match points en route to getting the second break back in the 10th game and eventually forcing a tie-break. 

After surviving to lose in two sets earlier in the set, Gauff opened a 6-2 lead in the second-set tie-break before realizing her fourth set point to send the match into a decider. 

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

At the start of the third set, Gauff broke Sakkari in the first game of the set and at that point, the whole momentum seemed to be on the American's side. But Sakkari then showed great mental strength as she responded by breaking Gauff in the second, fourth and eighth games to overturn an early third-set deficit and seal a three-set win. 

Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari
Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

When Swiatek and Sakkari meet in the Indian Wells final, it will be their first match since the two clashed against each other in the 2022 Indian Wells final. Exactly two years ago, Swiatek beat Sakkari 6-4 6-1 in the Indian Wells final.

Indian Wells Coco Gauff Iga Swiatek