Aryna Sabalenka vs. Maria Sakkari Indian Wells 2023: preview, odds and pick
Today The Programme is previewing a huge WTA matchup as Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari prepare for a showdown in the California desert tomorrow.
Sabalenka: Soaring in 2023...
She’s already scooped the Australian Open this season and now World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is closing in on her second title of the year.
The 24 year old is in the form of her life with a 16-1 record so far in 2023. The stats look even more impressive when you consider the first ten of those were straight-set wins, with only three of her matches going the distance this year.
Sabalenka’s only defeat of the season came at the hands of Barbora Krejcikova at the Dubai Tennis Championships last month. But the Belarusian put that right the first chance she got - dumping Krejcikova out of the BNP Paribas Open in the Round of 16 on Tuesday
That win earned Sabalenka a spot in yesterday’s quarterfinals, where she needed only 65 minutes to see off American teenager Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-0.
Sakkari: Stacking up laboured wins...
Next up the World No. 2 will face Maria Sakkari in tomorrow’s first BNP Paribas Open semi-final. And the matchup has the making of an intriguing clash when you consider the head to head record between the two players.
Sabalenka is 4-3 up overall which you’d expect. But World No. 7 Sakkari came out on top last time they met at the 2022 WTA Finals - AND she took that game in straight sets.
The problem for Sakkari coming into this one is she hasn’t closed out a game early for a good while. Eight of her last nine matches have gone the distance, and the 27 year old dropped the first set in three of her four matches so far at Indian Wells.
That’s going to make fatigue a big factor in tomorrow’s semi-final. Sakkari has had a full day of rest, but she’s spent a total of nine and a half hours on the court in the California desert - more than double Sabalenka’s 4 hours and 16 minutes.
The Programme Picks
Two ways to play:
Sabalenka -3.5 Games Handicap (-125)
After blowing Coco Gauff off the court, a -3.5 handicap is good value if you want to back Sabalenka for another one-sided win.
Maria Sakkari to win a set (+150)
Sabalenka comes into this matchup as the strong favorite, but could that win when they last met give Sakkari a boost in California tomorrow?
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