Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka absolutely believes that the match she and Paula Badosa played in the Indian Wells Masters final should be in contention for the match of the year. Azarenka, 32, fell just short of winning her third Indian Wells title as Badosa claimed a 7-6 (5) 2-6 7-6 (2) to lift her maiden Masters title.
“I would agree with comparing it to the match of the year,” said Azarenka, per TENNIS magazine. “I think the entire match the quality of tennis was super high level. We were both going for our shots, really pushing each other to the max”.
The experience of playing in finals of the biggest tournaments was on Azarenka's side but it made no different in the Indian Wells final. “Sometimes you can be more nervous playing in your first big final,” said Azarenka.
“Sometimes you are a bit freer. I felt that today she was playing, you know, really free”.
Badosa showed respect for Azarenka
Badosa, who is now enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 13 in the world, underlined Azarenka pushed her to the limits.
"She raises your level because she keeps pushing you, pushing you. She forces you a lot and that's what I felt today. She was forcing me, 'OK, if you want to win, you have to play the best tiebreak of your life.'
But that's what I had to do. I had no option. So amazing on that," Badosa told the WTA Tour. "I think I'm finding that balance and to be aggressive, but at the same time trying to be a good defender, to run a lot.
I was struggling a lot a year ago. Because I was very aggressive but then to move, it was quite difficult for me. I'm tall and big, so I think I did a big change on that and I have to give all the credit to my fitness coach."