Maria Sakkari fully breaks down what makes Iga Swiatek pure nightmare matchup

On Sunday, Sakkari suffered her third consecutive loss to Swiatek after losing the Indian Wells final.

by Dzevad Mesic
Maria Sakkari fully breaks down what makes Iga Swiatek pure nightmare matchup
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Maria Sakkari says Iga Swiatek "gives less chances" than others and highlights that not converting those chances or making silly errors most likely gets you on the losing side against the Polish world No. 1. 

Sakkari, ranked at No. 9 in the world, clashed against Swiatek in the Indian Wells final on Sunday but didn't have much as the Pole routinely beat the Greek 6-4 6-0. 

After making a very slow start to the final and finding herself 0-3 down, Sakkari managed to bounce back and win the next three games. Through the first eight games, they were tied to four games apiece before Swiatek served out the ninth game for a 5-4 lead - then earned three consecutive set points on Sakkari's serve - and realized her third to seal the first set. 

In the remainder of the match, there was only one player on the court as Sakkari got bageled in the second set. Not only that Sakkari lost the second set without a single game won, she also didn't have a single game or break point during the entire set.

"You don't have to be perfect, but you'll have less chances against her. That's the thing," Sakkari said.

"That's I think the difference between the top, top players and players in a lower ranking. Like when you play Iga, Sabalenka, Rybakina, all the players, Coco, Jess, you have like two, three chances in the match and you have to take them. If you don't take them, then it's ciao-ciao, as I say.

"That's the thing, and especially with her, she's aggressive, but at the same time she's solid. You have to take advantage of those chances she's giving you. Like, from 3-Love to 3-All to 4-All, she started missing.

"But then if you don't take that small chance, like it was 4-All, and I played a very loose returning game. I missed three backhand returns. That's not acceptable with players like her."

Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek
Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Sakkari on if she was thinking about Swiatek's finals record 

On Sunday, 22-year-old Swiatek was playing in her 23rd final. By beating Sakkari, the Pole improved to a very impressive 19-4 record in her finals. 

After the match, 28-year-old Sakkari was asked if Swiatek's finals record was somewhere in the back of her mind during the match. Answering the questions, Sakkari didn't agree with that and instead underlined that her performance was to blame for her loss. 

"No, I wasn't thinking about it in the match. Like, I know she usually wins her finals. Like, she rarely loses her finals the last two years, but that wasn't something I had in my mind," Sakkari noted.

"I just felt, like, you know, I wasn't good enough today, I wasn't competitive enough today. My energy level was low, and in order for me to beat her I have to be at my best.

"Yeah, not much was going through my mind."

Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek
Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Sakkari on the times she was beating Swiatek

Following the 2024 Indian Wells final, the head-to-head between Sakkari and Swiatek stands at 3-3. 

In 2021, Sakkari and Swiatek met three times and the Greek claimed a straight-set win in every one of those three matches - at the French Open, WTA Finals and Ostrava. Since then, the 28-year-old Greek has suffered three consecutive defeats in two sets to the Pole. 

In her post-Indian Wells press conference, Sakkari said the last time she beat Swiatek came in Ostrava in 2021 September so she couldn't really remember what it was that helped her beat the Pole. But then, Sakkari got reminded that she also defeated Swiatek later that year at the WTA Finals. 

Sakkari then proceeded to make an interesting observation, highlighting that after the 2021 season Swiatek split with her coach of five years Piotr Sierzputowski and hired Tomasz Wiktorowski, who elevated her game to a completely new level. 

"You're right. You got that one right (smiling). Yeah, I totally forgot. That was, you know, before she changed her coach, before she changed her team," Sakkari said.

"I think she has started working with Tomasz. She's very different to what she was before. Obviously she has had an incredible success the last two years, and she's a different player to when I beat her.

"You know, it requires something extra for me in order to get back on that winning record against her. She just doesn't miss as much as she did before, and she's on top of it all the time."

Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek
Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Meanwhile, Sakkari landed in the bottom part of the Miami draw, which means she could only face Swiatek in the final of the tournament. 

Maria Sakkari Iga Swiatek Indian Wells