Iga Swiatek, the No. 3 seed, extended her winning streak on the Hologic WTA Tour to ten matches with a 7-6(6), 6-4 semifinal victory over 2015 Indian Wells champion Simona Halep. For the first time, Swiatek reached the final of the BNP Paribas Open. The Pole came back from a break down in each set, saving two set points in the first-set tiebreak, to win in 1 hour and 49 minutes on Friday night, bringing her head-to-head with Romania’s No.24 seed Halep to 2-2.
Swiatek’s current run has taken place at the top of the Hologic WTA Tour’s schedule. She has won all ten of her matches in the first two WTA 1000 events of the season, including the title at WTA 1000 Doha last month. In each of her first three matches this week, she had to come back from a set down, but she has now won two straight sets in a row, with her most recent win over Halep coming after a 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Madison Keys in the quarterfinals.
Swiatek has blasted her way to the final of the BNP Paribas Open in just her second appearance, leading the tour in match wins. Swiatek has won 19 matches this season, including semifinal appearances at the Australian Open and Adelaide to go along with her Doha title.
Following her exploits in the desert this fortnight, the world number four is certain to reach a new career high ranking of World No. 2 or No. 3, depending on the results of the remaining matches. Swiatek is the second Polish woman to reach the Indian Wells final, after Agnieszka Radwanska, who finished second to Flavia Pennetta of Italy in 2014.
“[The match against Halep] was the toughest one,” Swiatek said, looking back on her tournament so far. “Even though I was losing the first set sometimes [earlier in the fortnight], I still felt like I had a little bit more control over how the match is going.”
“Today I had to come back from some breaks as well, so I think mentally it was the toughest one. Also coming back in that tiebreaker, it cost me a lot of energy, for sure. … I think I would say it was the most exciting one probably, if I was watching it.”