Maria Sakkari overcomes every obstacle to upset Coco Gauff in Indian Wells semifinals

Sakkari prevailed over her nerves, the weather, and Gauff's second-set comeback

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Maria Sakkari's new coach, David Witt pointed to his head while applauding her efforts to defeat Coco Gauff in the Indian Wells semifinals. Sakkari, prone to nerves, has responded beautifully to her new coach who is laid back and calm. The partnership paid dividends as Sakkari overcame a lot of adversity on Friday night to defeat Coco Gauff in three sets.

Sakkari has played with renewed purpose and belief. After a brief twenty minute rain delay when the match was even in the first set, Sakkari won the first set 6-4. Gauff asked for a doctor at the end of the set and was overheard on the microphone telling her that she was nauseous.

Gauff received medication and the benefit of another rain delay, this one was two hours long. Sakkari came out swinging and was up 5-2 in the second set before Gauff began the comeback. She served well and pushed Sakkari around on the court. Sakkari had match points but could not capitalize. The result was a four game winning streak for Gauff. The tiebreaker was Gauff playing some of her best tennis of the night.

Third set thrills

In the third set, Sakkari again jumped out to a lead. Gauff changed her strategy and began approaching the net frequently forcing Sakkari to execute stellar passing shots. Sakkari was up to the challenge and prevailed. Over an hour after her initial match points, Sakkari won the match which lasted approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes with 2 hours and 20 minutes of rain delays. It ended after 2 AM EDT.

Sakkari will face Iga Swiatek on Sunday at 2 PM EDT in the finals. The pair last played two years ago in the Indian Wells finals with Swiatek winning in straight sets. Can Sakkari maintain her high level of play against the World No. 1 and avenge the loss from two years ago? We will have to wait and see.

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