Iga Swiatek ‘pretty proud’ of beating Simona Halep to reach second consecutive WTA 1000 final

Iga Swiatek celebrates

Iga Swiatek is one win away from notching up back-to-back WTA 1000 titles after holding off Simona Halep in the BNP Paribas Open semi-final.

Having won the Qatar Open, Swiatek headed to Indian Wells high on confidence and it was on display against Halep as she made it two finals in a row with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 win over the former world No 1 in one hour and 49 minutes.

The first set was a humdinger as the Pole broke first in game six only for Halep to hit back immediately. Then in game nine the Romanian broke but the third set drew level at the first time of asking.

Swiatek made a sluggish start to the tie-breaker as she was 1-3 and 3-5 down with Halep fashioning two set points, but she saved both and then took the set at the first time of asking.

They once again shared four break points in the second set before the 2020 French Open champion claimed the decisive break in game nine.

“It is insane, honestly,” Swiatek, who will rise to a career-best No 2 in the WTA Rankings, said. “At the beginning of the tournament, I wouldn’t even think of it, especially after winning in Doha … It’s really over my expectations so I’m really happy.

“In my previous matches against Simona, I always felt like I had nothing to lose because I was always not the favourite, but this one, I felt like my ranking is higher and obviously I’ve been playing well.

“It was stressful for sure but I wanted to fight until the end and be mentally stronger because Simona is a really strong player, mentally. She’s not giving up so I wanted to do that better. I’m pretty proud that I did that.”

Swiatek will face Maria Sakkari in the final after the Greek defeated defending champion Paula Badosa.