✅ First Indian Wells title— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 19, 2023
✅ First WTA 1000 title
✅ First champion from Kazakhstan#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/520N5CiK1Z
That would be Elena Rybakina, who took out both the number 1 and the number 2 players in the world to grab the BNP Paribas Open singles title. Rybakina beat world number 1 Iga Swiatek in the semifinals. She had a bit of help in that Swiatek was playing with a rib injury, and was obviously not herself. However, had Swiatek been healthy, she still might have lost to Rybakina, who was hitting bombs left and right.
In the somewhat herky-jerky final with its maddening first set tiebreak, Rybakina defeated Aryna Sabalenka, whose service woes (supposedly behind her, but it's true that "under stress, you regress") paid a visit. Sabalenka double-faulted ten times in the first set, and it was obvious--in the second set--that she became very cautious about her serves.
For her part, Rybakina didn't serve at the level that she did against Swiatek, but she did hit seven aces. Her 7-6, 6-4 victory took just over two hours to complete, and represents her first WTA 1000 event title.
Rybakina also defeated Sofia Kenin, Paula Badosa, Varvara Gracheva, and Karolina Muchova, who dragged the champion to three very tough sets.
Heavy lifting! ⚠️@BKrejcikova & @K_Siniakova show perfect team work to lift up tennis' heaviest trophy. pic.twitter.com/x3HdU2Tcp5— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) March 18, 2023
Not at all surprisingly, top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the doubles title, defeating Beatriz Haddad Maia and Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-7, 10-7.