(October 17, 2021) INDIAN WELLS, California – Playing in her BNP Paribas Open main-draw debut, Spain’s Paula Badosa, seeded 21st fought past two-time winner and 27th seed Victoria Azarenka in over three hours 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6 (2) on Sunday.
Azarenka served for the title at 5-4, 30-0 in the deciding set, but Badosa fought back to 5-5, both women held for 6-6, but Badosa dominated the third set tiebreak to close out the match and claim the title.
“I think it was a really tough match,“ said the winner. “I think it was really good one, as well, because she played an amazing level. I think I had to rise high level every set. At the final third set I think I played my best. It was only option if I wanted to win, so I’m really proud of it.”
“I think she was playing on a very high level. In that moment I started to focus — at the final of the third set I started to focus on what to do every point, every ball, and not think of anything else. I think that was quite important because it was a final. I really wanted to win it so bad.
“I tried to focus on what to do and nothing else.”
“I think it was a really deserving final match,” Azarenka told media. “There was a lot of incredible moments, a lot of fight. I think we both gave it all out there. I think that’s what you wish for the final.
“The outcome was not in my favor today, but I thought overall it was an incredible match. I can take a lot of positive out of these last two weeks. Of course, congratulations to Paula. She really played well today.”
“I would agree with comparing it to the match of the year. 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.
“I think that’s what made it super entertaining, that competitive spirit, really fighting for every ball, not giving in anywhere. It’s very challenging to maintain that. I think that we both did that really well.”
Badosa joined an exclusive club in which only two other women won the Indian Wells title in their first appearance. Serena Williams did it in 1999 and Bianca Andreescu did it in 2019.
With the win, she’s the first Spanish woman to win the Indian Wells event. She’ll also move up in the rankings to No. 13.
The victory also moves the Spaniard ahead of Ons Jabeur for a qualifying spot in the race to the WTA Finals in Mexico next month.
Cameron Norrie rallied past Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the men’s title. Norrie is the first British man to win the Indian Wells title. The victory vaults his ranking from 26 to No. 17 in the world. He is now No. 10 in the race to the ATP World Tour Finals in Turin.
The first two sets were tight but then at 4-3 in the second set Norrie ran off 8 out the next 9 games.
“I was very tight,” Basilashvili said. “I had some problems, health problems, in the third set. I tried to go out, take a breath a bit, but I could not recover. I had it already little bit on previous matches, but now it was too severe in the third set.
“I did not have anything left. I will not say what it is because I don’t want to say, but I did not felt good. But I think Cameron, that he came back in the second set, he deserves it. He was very tough mentally. I could not find in second set how to beat him. At some point he was playing very flat backhand, very good spin forehand. I had to put a lot of energy, and I could not.”
More to follow…..