Spain’s Badosa beats Azarenka to capture Indian Wells title

Paula Badosa demonstrated her psychological toughness to say the title in her Indian Wells debut with a hard-fought, three-set victory over two-time champion Victoria Azarenka on Sunday.

The Spaniard, who had not misplaced a set since her first match of the event, outmuscled Azarenka 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) in 3 hours, 4 minutes.

“Each morning I get up and my dream is to win a event like this,” Badosa mentioned. “I’ve to maintain working laborious and at all times imagine. The secret’s to benefit from the journey.”

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

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

Badosa celebrated the most important win of her profession by falling the courtroom with each arms overlaying her face whereas the group cheered.

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

She then turned to Azarenka, saying “I bear 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.”

Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam winner, was attempting 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 Belarusian fell behind early within the last set tiebreaker and couldn’t get well.

Badosa acquired the primary break of the match within the seventh recreation of the opening set, however Azarenka instantly broke again to even it at 4-4.

Azarenka used an ace to win the fifth recreation of the opening set and used one other to arrange the profitable level within the ninth recreation to take a 5-4 lead.

The primary set took 1 hour, 20 minutes, together with the tightly-contested tiebreaker.

Badosa jumped out to a 4-0 lead, however Azarenka clawed her approach again 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.

Regardless of shedding a grueling first set, Azarenka seemed just like the more energizing participant at first 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 stable placements and some aces sprinkled in.

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

Azarenka held serve within the eighth recreation 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 earned a break within the ninth recreation, however Badosa returned the favor within the very subsequent recreation because the third set, like the complete match, went forwards and backwards.

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

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