Spain’s Paula Badosa defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7(7)-6, 2-6, 7(7)-6
The three hour match immediately described as one of best WTA matches all season
By Anita Stahl
Indian Wells, California, USA– Spain’s Paula Badosa defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7(7)-6, 2-6, 7(7)-6 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
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Paula Badosa defeated Victoria Azarenka 7(7)-6, 2-6, 7(7)-6 in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The second game of the match was 16 points long, signaling to the audience that they were in for a long and hard-fought championship match. And sure enough, the match would last over three hours with each player pushing her opponent to play her best tennis for every point.
With this victory, Badosa is projected to reach her new career high ranking, No. 13, up from a previous high No. 26. The Spaniard had to battle through Dayana Yastremska, Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, and Ons Jabeur to reach the final in what was her first time competing in the tournament’s main draw.
Badosa maintained unshakeable focus through the most critical moments, telling the press later, “at the final of the third set I started to focus on what to do every point, every ball, and not think of anything else. I think that was quite important because it was a final. I really wanted to win it so bad. I tried to focus on what to do and nothing else.”
By a few metrics, Azarenka played a better match, but in tennis it comes down to key points. In the third set, Azarenka was serving for the match at 5-4 and was up 30-0 but Badosa did not give up, eventually forcing the tie break that she won 7-2. In total, Azarenka won 133 points to Badosa’s 124, with fewer unforced errors (42 to 50) and more winners (48 to 44).
While the loss must have stung, Azarenka had perspective on what the match was to everyone watching; in a word, incredible. “I think it was a really deserving final match. There was a lot of incredible moments, a lot of fight. I think we both gave it all out there. I think that’s what you wish for the final.”
It was a match that had the press room debating if it was the best woman’s match of the year before the final ball was even played.
Azarenka gave credit to her opponent and is proud of what she accomplished: “I was actually very happy that I was able at the same time to maintain that level of fitness, of my game throughout over three hours. That’s a really positive sign. It actually motivates me to keep moving forward. This year has been challenging a bit. But finishing on a strong note not necessarily with the result I wanted but with the progress I wanted to seek, that’s really positive.”
Both players will see significant bumps in their rankings Monday and Badosa is now in contention to play the WTA Finals.
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