Spain’s Badosa beats Azarenka to seize Indian Wells title

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Paula Badosa of Spain poses poses for photographers after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during the final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden October 17, 2021 in Indian Wells, California.   Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Paula Badosa of Spain poses poses for photographers after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus throughout the closing of the BNP Paribas Open on the Indian Wells Tennis Backyard October 17, 2021 in Indian Wells, California.  (Getty Photos through AFP)

INDIAN WELLS – Paula Badosa demonstrated her psychological toughness to develop into the WTA Indian Wells champion in her desert debut on Sunday with a hard-fought, three-set victory over two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

The Spaniard, who had not misplaced a set since her first match of the event, wanted three hours and 4 minutes to out-muscle Azarenka 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 7-6 (7/2).

“Each morning I get up and my dream is to win a event like this,” Badosa mentioned. “I’ve to maintain working onerous and all the time consider. The bottom line is to benefit from the journey.”

Badosa gained her solely earlier WTA closing earlier this season in Belgrade however she did it through a retirement over Ana Konjuh.

This one was sweeter as a result of Badosa obtained to shut out the championship level on the courtroom, hammering a forehand winner to the open facet that Azarenka may solely watch sail in.

Badosa celebrated the largest win of her profession by falling face first to the courtroom, each fingers overlaying her face whereas the group cheered.

“This can be a dream come true,” mentioned Badosa throughout the post-match festivities on the courtroom.

She then turned to Azarenka, saying “I keep in mind after I was 14 or 15 years previous seeing you win Grand Slams and hoping at some point I can play like that.”

Two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka was making an attempt to develop into the primary three-time WTA winner in Indian Wells.

She battled again a number of instances on Sunday, digging in after dropping the primary set in a tightly-contested tiebreaker. However the 32-year-old Belarussian fell behind early within the closing set tiebreaker and couldn’t get well.

Badosa obtained the primary break of the match within the seventh sport of the opening set however Azarenka instantly broke again to stage at 4-4.

Azarenka used an ace to win the fifth sport of the opening set after which used one other ace to arrange the successful level within the ninth sport to take a 5-4 lead.

The primary set took one hour and 20 minutes together with the tightly-contested tiebreaker.

Badosa jumped out to a 4-0 lead however Azarenka clawed her means again in to stage it 5-5. An unforced error by Azarenka created set level and Badosa overpowered her with a blistering cross courtroom forehand winner to finish the marathon set.

Shorter rallies

Regardless of dropping a gruelling first set in a tiebreaker, Azarenka appeared the more energizing of the 2 in in the beginning of the second set.

Azarenka began coming into the online extra which shortened the rallies. Azarenka gained the primary three video games of the second to set the tone after which served out the set with some strong placements and some aces sprinkled in.

Azarenka smacked an ace to get to set level then closed it out when Badosa hit a backhand lengthy.

Azarenka held serve within the eighth sport of the third set as the 2 painted the strains in one of many longest rallies of the match. Azarenka blasted a backhand winner down the road to stage the set at 4-4.

Azarenka broke within the ninth sport however Badosa returned the favour within the very subsequent sport because the third set, like all the match, went forwards and backwards.

The tiebreak was just about all Badosa because the veteran Azarenka appeared to expire of fuel, dropping 4 of the ultimate 5 factors of the match.

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Agence France-Presse

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