Spain's No.21 seed Paula Badosa overcame No.27 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2) to win the BNP Paribas Open championship in Indian Wells, the final WTA 1000 event of the season on Mionday (IST).
In the first meeting between the two players, Badosa denied the former world No.1 Azarenka in what would have been her third BNP Paribas Open title, the most by any player. Instead, it was the Spaniard who won the second WTA singles title of her season and her career.
The three-hour, four-minute match is this year's longest WTA singles final. It caps off a career-best week for Badosa, who defeated four top 20 players in a row en route to the championship match, where she beat Azarenka to improve to 2-0 in WTA singles finals.
"I think it was a really tough match," Badosa told wtatennis.com. "I think it was a really good one as well, because she played 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. 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," added Badosa.
Badosa is now 6-0 in Indian Wells main-draw matches, storming to the title in her main-draw debut. She follows in the footsteps of the previous BNP Paribas Open champion, Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who also won the title in her tournament debut in 2019.
Surprisingly, Badosa is also 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 where she lost to Monica Seles, and 1996 when Steffi Graf beat her. Former world No.1 players Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Garbine Muguruza have never made the final here.
With the victory, Badosa halves her career-high ranking. She is currently one spot off her highest placement of world No.26, but later on Monday, she is projected to rise to a new high of world No.13 in the newest rankings.
Badosa is also in contention for a spot at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara with the 1,000 points she earned.
( 470 Words)