Bardosa beat Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) in three hours and four minutes to clinch her maiden WTA title.
Spain’s Paula Badosa beat Victoria Azarenka in a gruelling final to win the prestigious Indian Wells title on her tournament debut on Sunday. Although Azarenka produced an impressive second set, Bardosa eventually came out on top to win 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) in three hours and four minutes. Meanwhile it is the 23-year-old’s second WTA tour title after May’s Belgrade victory.
“The first thing I have learnt this week is that nothing is impossible. If you fight, if you work, after all these years, you can achieve anything,” Badosa told reporters.
Bardosa had to overcome injuries and mental struggles in recent seasons and was tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead up to the Australian Open. However she has fought her way back by defeating three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber and world number eight Ons Jabeur to reach the Indian Wells final.
“And to dream. Sometimes you have tough moments. In my case i’ve been through tough moments. I never stopped dreaming. That kept me working hard and believing until the last moment. Today was the same, I’m really proud of it.”
“You know I had a roller-coaster year, disappointments and everything. But after all I’ve been through in my life it wasn’t disappointment,” Badosa added.
Badosa won the first set but there was very little to separate between the two players throughout the match. They saved a total of eight break points in the first four games. Bardosa eventually closed out the first set with a cross-court backhand but the world number 32 Azarenka came back stronger to dominate the second set.
The Belarusian who had won Indian Wells title in 2012 and 2015 took the second set 2-6 and then the third set also went down the wire. Badosa went 2-0 up in the decider but two double faults in a game allowed Azarenka to get things back on serve.
The two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka broke to 5-4 and was poised for a win as she served for the match but Badosa broke back and fought her way through the final tie-break to take back control. Meanwhile this was the years longest WTA singles final (3 hours and 4 minutes)
“That’s the good part. When you suffer a lot, when you’re young, when you have a bit of disappointment, you don’t feel it like that. So that’s the good part of what happened.” she said.
Badosa has secured the title in her main-draw debut and thus emulated the record of Bianca Andreescu, who also won the title in her tournament debut in 2019. Meanwhile Badosa also became the first Spanish player to win the Indian Wells title.