Badosa to face Azarenka in WTA decider

AAPPress Association
Paula Badosa has set up a WTA decider with former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in California.
Camera IconPaula Badosa has set up a WTA decider with former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in California. Credit: AP

Paula Badosa will play Victoria Azarenka in the final of the WTA event in Indian Wells, California, after contrasting semi-final wins on Friday.

In a final four devoid of the tournament's top-tier players, 21st seed Badosa upset the 13th-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in straight sets, 6-3 6-3 in 81 minutes.

The 23-year-old Badosa becomes the first Spanish woman in 25 years to advance to the BNP Paribas Open decider since Conchita Martinez finished runner-up in 1996 and 1992, and she has done so in her main draw debut.

Badosa has lost just one set en route to her second final of the season, beginning the year ranked No.70 and now projected to make her top-20 debut on Monday.

"Mentally I think I'm very confident," Badosa said.

"Every day I'm working very hard ... I think I'm progressing on a little bit of everything and that's what is making my level going up. That's why I'm in a final and playing against the best of the world."

The 27th-seeded former world No.1 Azarenka, who won this title in 2012 and 2016, charged back from a set and a break down to claim a hard-fought 3-6 6-3 7-5 win over No.24 seed Jelena Ostapenko in two hours 20 minutes.

Azarenka and Latvian Ostapenko were line-ball in most areas, winning 62.9 per cent and 63.6 per cent of first serve points and committing eight and six double faults respectively, but the Belarusian crucially converted one extra break point, five to four.

"Analysing the game, it was a lot of probably things that I could have maybe done a little bit better," Azarenka said in her post-match press conference.

"I thought the most important (thing) I would say today, was my fight, that I can be really proud of."

Azarenka is now one win away from becoming the first woman to win the Indian Wells title three times. Along with herself, Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova, the other two-time champions are Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Stefanie Graf, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, and Daniela Hantuchova.

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