Badosa reaches biggest final of career at Indian Wells
Badosa is the first Spanish woman to reach the Indian Wells final since 1996 and will meet Azarenka in Sunday’s final
Spain’s Paula Badosa is through to the biggest final of her career after beating Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Friday night to advance to the championship match of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Badosa scored her 40th tour win of the season, beating Jabeur 6-3, 6-3 to set up the final clash against two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka on Sunday.
Badosa hit 15 winners to 22 unforced errors in the contest while Jabeur hit 24 winners to 35 unforced errors. The Spaniard was able to convert a better ratio of break point opportunities – going 4/15 on break points while Jabeur was only 1/10.
With this, 27th ranked Badosa becomes the first Spanish woman to reach the Indian Wells final since Conchita Martinez in 1996.
“I’m really excited to be in the final. I still can’t believe it. It’s an amazing feeling for me to be here. Of course, against Vika, she’s an amazing champion. She has been here a lot of times. She has a lot of experience there. I expect a tough match. But I’m playing good. I’m playing confident. I will try to go for it and let’s see how it goes.”
The 23-year-old Spaniard is enjoying the best season of her career on the women’s tour, having begun the season ranked 70th. She won her first career singles title at Belgrade this year and also reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open.
Badosa is projected to make her top 20 debut next week while Jabeur will become the first Arab player to break into the world’s top 10 on Monday.
“Azarenka is a competitor. She fights until the last ball” : Badosa
Sunday’s clash will be the first meeting between Badosa and Azarenka, a former world No. 1 who owns 21 WTA titles and is aiming to become the first three-time women’s champion at Indian Wells.
Badosa is well aware of the Belarusian’s fighting spirit which has seen her come through difficult periods on and off the court in the past.
“I’ve seen her a lot, a lot of finals, winning Grand Slams, 1000 tournaments. I know how she’s playing. She’s very intense. She’s a tough one. She’s a competitor. She fights until the last ball. I know it’s going to be a tough one. But I like these kind of matches. I’ve never been through a final, so I can’t wait to play it. I always dreamed to be in one. I can’t wait to play it.”