Azarenka one win away from becoming first woman to win Indian Wells three times

The former world No 1 came from a set and a break down to beat former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals

Victoria Azarenka at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open WTA 1000 tennis tournament

WTA 2021 BNP Paribas Open | Draw Order of Play

Former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka is now one win away from becoming the first woman ever to win the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after coming from behind to beat former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals on Friday.

The Belarusian is through to Sunday’s final where she will meet 21st seed Paula Badosa, of Spain.

On Friday. it was Ostapenko who got off to a better start, wining the first set 6-3, and going up 2-0 in the second set with a break point to go up a double break.

That’s when the gritty Azarenka held her serve and began clawing her way back into the contest. She won six of the next seven games to win the second set and level the match.

In the decider, both players exchanged early breaks before Azarenka broke her Latvian opponent once again to go up 6-5. Ostapenko had her chances to break back, earning triple break point in the 12th game. But Azarenka fought back to hold serve and close out the 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and 20 minutes.

With both players being close in the match, Azarenka played the second serve points better – winning 48% of points on her second serve while Ostapenko won 39% of her own.

The Belarusian also won 42% of return points on Ostapenko’s second serve while the Latvian was able to win 36% of points on her opponent’s second serve.

“I’m type of person who will never give up no matter the situation is” – Azarenka

After a challenging season which included being in the hard quarantine prior to the Australian Open, Azarenka credited herself for not giving up under any circumstances – something that was evident even during her semi-final win.

“I’m type of person who will never give up no matter the situation is. I always knew I’m going to keep fighting. But sometimes it doesn’t feel good. You’re not motivated to keep searching, but it’s up to you. Either you’re going to – that moment is going to define you or you’re going to take that into your own hands. From that standpoint I think I’ve been pretty consistent climbing myself out of challenging situations and moving forward.”

Azarenka is a two-time champion at Indian Wells, winning the title here in 2012 and 2016. That makes her one of nine players to have won the WTA event twice. But she could move clear of the other eight – Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchova, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova – with a win in Sunday’s final.

The win was also Azarenka’s 33rd at Indian Wells, behind Davenport (47 wins) and Sharapova (38 wins).

Azarenka’s last title was Western & Southern Open in 2020, which is the only title she has won since winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back in 2016.

Your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *