Paula Badosa clinches Indian Wells title, set for huge ranking leap
Indian Wells, Oct. 18 (IANS): 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.
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.