WATCH: Sabalenka was in rare form when she dismantled Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Aryna Sabalenka vs. Maria Sakkari

Sakkari has found her form just in time to defend her runner-up points here from 2022. But it’s been a grind. She’s won all four of her matches in three sets, and had to come back from a set down three times. Sabalenka, meanwhile, has mostly been on cruise control. She’s had a walkover, won two 6-0 sets and two straight-set matches, and was in complete control against a Top 10 opponent, Coco Gauff, in the quarterfinals. But she has also been tested. In the round of 16, Sabalenka edged past a highly in-form Barbora Krejcikova, the only woman to beat her in 2023, 6-4 in the third set.

As for this semifinal, Sabalenka’s near-perfect record this season should foretell another win for her, and probably a comfortable one, right? The head-to-head between these two says something slightly different. While Sabalenka leads 4-3, Sakkari has won their last two matches, both of them at top-tier events in Guadalajara and Fort Worth.

After her experiences this week, she’ll know she can come back, even if she falls behind early. But will this version of Sabalenka give her that chance?

Winner: Sabalenka


Iga Swiatek vs. Elena Rybakina

Swiatek has a rare opportunity for payback here. It was Rybakina who spoiled her Australian Open bid two months ago, 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round.

How has Iga done in her previous revenge tours? Her record is mixed. She easily beat Caroline Garcia in Fort Worth after losing to her at home in Poland. And she thrashed Jessica Pegula in Doha after Pegula did the same to her in United Cup. But Swiatek couldn’t turn the tables on Barbora Krejcikova in Dubai, after losing to her last year in Ostrava.

Rybakina, a two-time Slam finalist, has the best serve of all of those players, which is the only sure way to keep Swiatek from dominating a rally. Rybakina also has the self-belief.

“It depends a lot how physically I feel, like I’m kind of realistic in these things,” she says. “I know that, of course, if I am gonna bring my best tomorrow, there is chances that I’m gonna win.”

The surface won’t do much for her cause. We know Swiatek likes it slow, and Rybakina doesn’t; she’s says she’s been fighting the conditions in Indian Wells all week. Going up against the world No. 1 on a court she favors and you don’t is not normally a winning recipe. Rybakina has a server’s chance, but I don’t think it’s a big one.

Winner: Swiatek