Maria Sakkari beats defending champion Paula Badosa

Maria Sakkari’s eyes welled with tears and she sat in silence, with her head down, after defeating Paula Badosa, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, on Friday evening in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open. She had just accomplished something no one else had done at Indian Wells.

After being the second player, after Martina Navratilova, to win her first 10 matches here, Badosa was finally beaten. The 2021 BNP Paribas Open champion lost her serve six times against Sakkari and walked off the court following the loss with tears in her eyes.

The outcome was emotional for both players. For Badosa, it was because she finally lost, falling just short of becoming the first woman since Navratilova 31 years ago to repeat as champion here. For Sakkari, she was emotional because this will be the biggest final of her career di lei.

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