TENNIS – Paula Badosa will face Victoria Azarenka in the Indian Wells final after upsetting Ons Jabeur on Friday.
Spain’s Badosa, playing the tournament for the first time, defeated 13th seed Jabeur, one of the most in-form players on the Tour this year, 6-3 6-3.
Badosa feels mentally confident
Badosa, 23, looks to seal her second WTA Tour title after victory in Belgrade in May.
She may also break into the top 20 on Monday for the first time. Badosa began the season ranked no.70. Her win over French Open champion Krejcikova in the fourth round was her fourth Top 10 win of what has been a breakout season.
“Mentally I think I’m very confident,” Badosa said in an interview. “I’m believing every point. Every day I’m working very hard as well. I think I’m progressing on a little bit of everything and that’s what is making my level going up. That’s why I’m in a final and playing against the best of the world.”
Final game was thrilling
The final game of the match was not short on drama. Jabeur earned triple-breakpoints to get back on serve at 3-5, 0-40. Badosa did not falter, saving all three break points and closing out the match on her seventh match point.
Badosa has improved her hard court game. “After I played clay – I did a very good clay season – I wanted to improve on a lot of things on hard court,” Badosa said.
“I worked a lot. Then I had the grass court season. Then I was playing again on hard court. I did pretty good. Not amazing, but I did good in Olympics, Cincinnati, all that. I still wanted to improve a few things.
“I think I’m doing it very well this week. I’m pretty happy that I improved really fast. I’m quite proud of myself on that.”
Badosa’s opponent, Victoria Azarenka, came from a set and break down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 3-6 6-3 7-5. The 32-year-old Belarusian will aim to become the first woman to win the Indian Wells tournament three times after victories in 2012 and 2016.