Paula Badosa is Indian Wells Champion

by Deborah Cater
Paula Badosa wins Indian Wells

No.21 seed Paula Badosa overcame No.27 Victoria Azarenka 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2) to win the BNP Paribas Open championship in Indian Wells. The match was a three hour thriller. 

In the first meeting between the two players, Badosa denied a third Indian Wells title for former World No.1 Azarenka. Instead, the Spaniard won the second WTA singles title of her season and her career.

The title was the cherry on the cake for Badosa who defeated four top 20 players en-route to the championship.

Three hour thriller

After the match, Badosa said, “I think it was a really tough match. I think it was a really good one as well, because she played an amazing level. I had to rise [to a] high level every set. At the third set, I think I played my best. It was the only option if I wanted to win, so I’m really proud of it.

“The first thing that I’ve learned this week is that nothing is impossible. If you fight, if you work, after all these years, you can achieve anything. That’s the first message that I see that could happen. And to dream. Sometimes you have tough moments. In my case, I have been through tough moments. I never stopped dreaming. That’s what kept me working hard and believing until the last moment.

“I’m very happy what’s happening. I’m a little bit still in shock what happened today because winning a tournament like this, it’s always been a dream.”

Badosa stormed to the title in her main-draw debut. She follows in the footsteps of the previous BNP Paribas Open champion, Bianca Andreescu, who also won the title in her tournament debut in 2019.

First Spaniard to win at Indian Wells

Badosa is the first Spaniard to take home the Indian Wells title. Former World No.2 Conchita Martinez came closest, with her runner-up showings in 1992 (lost to Monica Seles) and 1996 (lost to Stefanie Graf). Former World No.1 players Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Garbiñe Muguruza have never made the final here.

On Monday, Badosa is projected to rise to a new high of World No.13 in the newest rankings. She is also in contention for a spot at the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara with the 1,000 points she earned. Badosa slides into the No.8 position in the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals. The end of season tournament kicks off in two weeks.

Key moments of the match

Badosa was up a break twice, at 4-3 and 6-5, but Azarenka was able to match the Spaniard power for power, pulling back level each time.

After 70 minutes, the players moved into the first-set tiebreak. Badosa saw a 4-0 lead slide back to 5-5. An astounding 28-shot rally wrapped up the first set after 79 intense minutes, won by Badosa with an amazing backhand crosscourt winner.

The second set was Azarenka’s as the velocity of Badosa’s groundstrokes decreased. Azarenka broke in the first game and stormed through the set.

The average game length stretched to five minutes in the third set. Azarenka broke Badosa for 5-4 and a chance to serve for the match. However, Badosa broke back and the opponents eventually headed into a tie-breaker.

Badosa took a commanding 4-1 lead, and the Spaniard eased to victory from there.

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