Indian Wells: Paula Badosa pips Victoria Azarenka; claims biggest career title

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Indian Wells: Paula Badosa pips Victoria Azarenka; claims biggest career title

Paula Badosa won the 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday. The Spaniard, the 21st seed, downed the 27th-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2) in three hours and four minutes. In the opening set, Badosa needed the tie-break to take the lead in the match after having led by a break twice.

The second set was dominated by the two-time champion who went to level the match. The two players traded breaks in the initial moments of the deciding set before Azarenka clinched a decisive break in the ninth game of the set.

However, while trying to serve out the match, she was broken back. With neither player losing her ground thereafter, the fate of the set and the match moved in the direction of the tie-break. The deciding set tie-break, however, was completely unlike the first set tie-break with Badosa dominating proceedings to clinch the first WTA 1000 title of her career.

Azarenka had four more winners than Badosa’s 44 and eight fewer unforced errors than her Spanish rival’s 50. However, Badosa saved 10 of the 17 break points she faced while converting five of the 13 break points, she had on the Belarusian’s serve.

Indian Wells: Paula Badosa scripts fairytale ending

Speaking after her win in the press conference, Badosa shared, “I think it was a really tough match. I think it was a really good one as well because she played (at) an amazing level.

I think 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”. She also added, “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 (about) what's happening. I'm a little bit still in shock (about) what happened today because winning a tournament like this, it's always been a dream”.

En route to the title – her second this season and of her career – Badosa took down three Major champions, 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round, three-time Major champion, Angelique Kerber and two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka in the final.

In winning the title, she also became the first Spanish woman to win the event. Previously, Conchita Martinez had lost in the finals twice. Following her win at Indian Wells, Paula Badosa also moved into eighth place in the race to make it to the WTA Finals.

She also achieved a new career-high of no. 13 in the WTA rankings. Victoria Azarenka, meanwhile, climbed six spots to 26th place in the rankings.