(October 15, 2021) INDIAN WELLS, California – Victoria Azarenka of Belarus stands a win away from claiming a record third BNP Paribas Open title. The 27th seed rallied to defeat the 24th seed and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The 2012 and 2016 champion rallied from 6-3, 2-0 down to earn a berth in the final in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
“Long match, said Azarenka. “I thought the most important I would say today was my fight, that I can be really proud of.
“Analyzing the game, it was a lot of probably things that I could have maybe do a little bit better. Overall she was playing really incredible in the first set, not giving me much to do. I was just trying to find opportunity, actually create opportunity, for me to get back into the match, to take a little bit more control in the match, really fight for every ball.”
“I mean, it was in general probably a good match, but I feel like I was a better player today,” said the loser Ostapenko. “I just missed some balls, like, in deciding moments. I was a little bit unlucky.
“I think I was playing better and aggressive today. She was more, like, defending. Yeah, if couple balls I would be lucky I think I could win the match. Actually I think I could win the match in two sets. I was playing more against myself today.
“If I was playing maybe a bit smarter, I could win this match in two sets. But then I started to play against myself a little bit. Of course, she was making as many balls as possible, like she was putting more balls in the court, not missing, trying to wait for my mistakes.”
“I think, yes, because in general it was a good week. Of course, I’m now very disappointed because I feel like that was my match today and I had all the opportunities to win. I just didn’t play well in the moments where I had to play. Maybe I didn’t make right decisions during the match.
“But I think I’m on the right way. There are not much tournaments left. Of course, I’m going to probably play Moscow, but it’s going to be tough with the jet lag and everything. It’s starting Monday, it’s already Friday. But I will take as it is. Yeah, I mean, in general was probably a good week because I had a good wins.”
No. 21 seed Paula Badosa of Spain reached her first WTA 1000 final in her main draw debut with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 12 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-3, 6-3 in 81 minutes.. This was the fourth seeded player (19th, 5th, 15th and 12th) she defeated on her way to the final. This will be just her second WTA final. She won the Belgrade event earlier in the year.
“I think I’m playing the final on Sunday but I might still be dreaming!” Badosa said during .her on-court interview.
She becomes the first Spanish woman to reach the Indian wells final in 25 years.
“She played good, “said Jabeur set to make her debut in the Top Tennon Monday. “It wasn’t my best tennis, but I tried to fight hard, raise the level. Today wasn’t my best day. Maybe one of the worst matches that I played.
“That’s tennis. I tried my best this whole tournament. Hopefully I’ll play better in Moscow.”
“I tried to really disconnect from what happened yesterday. A short time of period I played yesterday, I playing today. But, no, actually I tried to not focus on it. I was doing my routine for the same like the whole week.
“These kind of matches, happens to me a lot, especially at the end of the tournaments when my body is tired, also when my mind is tired.
“Yeah, today I feel like I did something different than other days. I was really fighting hard even though I knew I wasn’t playing very well. I just tried. I tried to think. I tried to do whatever in my power. Honestly I don’t regret much because today she was a much better player.”
“She was much more aggressive than me,” Jabeur continued. “I was trying to get in the court. I felt like I was going backwards all the time. I was even far away from the baseline, which is not me. Usually I am forward, I go. When I don’t find my game, usually I overdo the dropshots.
“I wanted to change up the rhythm little bit because she was going so hard. Her ball, I felt it was kind of different than the other opponents that I had. She put little bit of spin. I think that what makes also the difference that it didn’t help me to get back in my game. Usually I play with some players, they put more flat balls, except the first round against Sevastova.
“Yeah, against these players like Paula, if you don’t play well, you really have to find it, otherwise it’s too late for you.”
“I’m really excited to be in the final. I still can’t believe it. It’s an amazing feeling for me to be here.
“Of course, against Vika, she’s an amazing champion. She has been here a lot of times. She has a lot of experience there. I expect a tough match.
But I’m playing good. I’m playing confident. I will try to go for it and let’s see how it goes.”
“It’s been a very tricky match,” said Badosa. “Ons, she’s coming playing very good and very confidently. I knew I had to be very consistent and very solid and as well very aggressive. So that combination. I think I did it really well today and that’s why I won the match.”
“I’ve never played against Paula,” noted Azarenka. “I’ve never really practiced against her. That would be something, a new challenge for me to even understand her ball, her pace. Will be definitely a bit of adaptation there.”
Azarenka’s last title came in Cincinnati, played in New York in 2020.
Badosa on Azarenka’s game: “
“I’ve seen her a lot, a lot of finals, winning Grand Slams, 1000 tournaments. I know how she’s playing. She’s very intense. She’s a tough one. She’s a competitor. She fights until the last ball. I know it’s going to be a tough one.
“But I like these kind of matches. I’ve never been through a final, so I can’t wait to play it. I always dreamed to be in one. I can’t wait to play it.”
More to follow…..