Badosa bolts up to career-high 13th with Indian Wells stunner
SPANISH rising star Paula Badosa has continued a remarkable 2021 WTA Tour season by taking out the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells yesterday. The 23-year-old took her season record to 41-15, and rose up to a career-high 13th in the world, having earned around $2.3 million USD this year, which is more than double her career total. The WTA 1000 title was the second title of 2021 for the young gun, defeating two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka in a tight three sets.
The match went right down to the wire, with Badosa needing to close it out in a third set tiebreaker, winning that 7-2, the second tiebreaker of the match during the 7-6 2-6 7-6 victory. The epic contest lasted three hours and four minutes, with Badosa serving seven aces to five, but also coughing up 11 doubles faults to seven. There were plenty of chances for both players, with Azarenka breaking the more efficient seven times compared to Badosa’s five.
The Belarusian could be considered unlucky, having only lost the first set in a tiebreaker then dominated the second, and gone all the way in the third. In the end, Badosa remained undefeated at Indian Wells when reaching the main draw, and stopped Azarenka from claiming her third Indian Wells title. The win bolstered the 21st seed up to 13th and closing in on Garbine Muguruza as the highest ranked Spaniard.
“I think it was a really tough match,” Badosa post-match. “I think it was a really good one as well, because she played an amazing level. I think I had to rise [to a] high level every set. At the third set, I think I played my best. It was the only option if I wanted to win, so I’m really proud of it.
“The first thing that I’ve learned this week is that nothing is impossible. If you fight, if you work, after all these years, you can achieve anything. That’s the first message that I see that could happen. And to dream. Sometimes you have tough moments. In my case, I have been through tough moments. I never stopped dreaming. That’s what kept me working hard and believing until the last moment.
“I’m very happy what’s happening. I’m a little bit still in shock what happened today because winning a tournament like this, it’s always been a dream.”
Badosa well and truly earned her title, with a whopping five Top 30 wins, including four Top 20 wins on her way to the crown. Rising young gun Coco Gauff, reigning Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova, Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber and the in-form Ons Jabeur were all among the Spaniard’s victims on the way to her crown. The win sets her up well to represent Spain at the Billie Jean King Cup.
Picture credit: WTA Tour