Serena Williams And Victoria Azarenka Will Resume Rivalry For Indian Wells Title Sunday
by Staff | March 19th, 2016, 12:05 pm

There haven’t been many recently, but one player who has given Serena Williams trouble is Victoria Azarenka, and tomorrow the two Hall of Famers will meet in the Indian Wells final.

Serena, who missed 14 years of the event due to a boycott, return to the final for the first time since her 2001 triumph overcame an early deficit to beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 7-6(1).

After a slow start – she was down 4-2 early – Serena got into gear and at one stretch had won 12 of 13 points before Radwanska stopped the rot.

“[I] definitely felt like I wanted to go out there, and towards the end just really try my best to close it out,” said Williams. “Even if it didn’t work out, I at least wanted to try even harder.”

Radwanska falls to 0-10 against Serena winning just one set of 21 they’ve played. But she returns to No. 2 on Monday.

“I think it was a really good match. I think we both played very well,” said Radwanska.

In the second semifinal, 2012 Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka ended the run of Karolina Pliskova 7-6(1), 1-6, 6-2.

“It’s been a great week, I felt I improved so much. I’ve been working hard and it’s good to see that all that work is paying off,” said Azarenka who has battled so many injuries the last few years. “I tried to apply what I’m working on – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but it has put me in a position to play against the best players and these are the most priceless moments for me.”

Serena leads Azarenka 17-3 winning their last five. But Azarenka took a set off the World No. 1 three times last year in losses at Madrid, the French and at Wimbledon.

“For me it’s all fun. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, it’s tennis and you’re not always going to be on the up. You have to play good and stay calm – it’s important what you do when you’re down, too. I think through the experience you learn to understand that better.”

Azarenka last beat Serena in a thrilling 2013 Cincinnati final. This will be their first meeting at Indian Wells where Serena has a 22-1 record.

Serena is seeking her first title since Cincinnati last summer while Azarenka her second of the year after Brisbane.

If Azarenka wins she’ll return to the Top 10.

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31 Comments for Serena Williams And Victoria Azarenka Will Resume Rivalry For Indian Wells Title Sunday

ClareA Says:

It’s always good to see Serena get some sort of (rare) competition. It makes for good tennis to watch! She’s SO good that I sometimes don’t bother to watch her matches. Serena wins again, ho hum. Hope this is a good one.

jane Says:

serena will likely win, but i am glad vika is coming back into form as i actually think she’s one of a few players who can maybe challenge serena.

Margot Says:

I agree jane. I really like Vika’s fearless attitude too. She was splendid at Queens during a “fun” event to raise money for the “Elena Baltacha” fund.
But then, so was Berdych….;)

jalep Says:

Serena wants another IW title. She ‘only’ has one and it has been a long time since that title.

Vika v Serena is the best we can get out of the draw for a competitive final, imo, when Serena is playing well, enjoying herself, and motivated.

Many match-up’s to love in the WTA right now. Can’t wait for Miami ☺

Margot Says:

When Petra’s on form she can give Serena a run for her money.
“When” of course being the operative word, alas. But I believe she’s been ill off and on with glandular fever, which is horribly disabilitating.

jalep Says:

Yes she does have the power to give Serena a challenge; and I love Petra, Margot. She hasn’t been the same since the glandular fever, tho. She also hates it when it’s too hot. My hopes are that she can win another Wimbledon.

Johanna Konta – what a fighter, right? And loved watching Zhang again this IW; you remember her — the spunky quarter-finalist from AO?

I’m pretty high on the 18-yr-olds, Kasatkina and Ostapenko at the moment.

Vika, she doesn’t seem to have the edge she did in 2011-2013. Not too late to get there again, maybe…

J-Kath Says:


Maybe she and Andy can do a mixed doubles at the Olympics

jane Says:

set one and a break in set 2 for vika

jane Says:

that’s 9 bps vika has saved now; she’s playing with fire.

BBB Says:

Serena’s footwork has looked disorganized to me for awhile. They showed matches from a decade ago, and she was much more precise with it.

Everyone says that her coach is great because he’s motivated her, but I wonder whether he has been for her on a technical level.

BBB Says:

“good” for her on a technical level.

jalep Says:

Wow. Vika has a real chance.

JK, that could be a great doubles combo

And — she really wanted this title today. Commentators repeating that she respects Vika so much. Maybe so. But it’s Serena’s slow start against the Vika, Vinci, Kerber’s. The match gets away from her and she can’t get it back – which used to not happen.

jalep Says:

Vika serving for the championship.

Ooffah. 15-30. DF. 15-40. break point for Serena.

Serena got it finally. Still a long way back. Vika will have another chance this set to serve it out.

hahaha suddenly a match! Serena’s serve has shown up. 122 mph serve. 5-4 Vika.

BBB Says:

Well, this is suddenly a different match.

jane Says:

vika choking serving for it, or serena coming back.
whatever you wanna cal it.
it’s happened lots with these 2.
let’s see if vika can save one more bp.

jane Says:

yay for vika!! she was facing 15-40 serving for the match but still managed to get the (I)W. good for her! :)

jalep Says:

Vika’s 1st serve is gone and lordy, Serena found her best return now, too!

Another 2nd serve and another missile from Serena!
Break point. Vika get’s a 1st serve in. one bp saved. And she saves another. Deuce. Can she do it? Ad IN. Championship point. yes, she can. 1st serve in and Serena returns it long.

Congrats Vika! Great job. It took Serena too long to get it together.

Margot Says:

Lordy, thought Vika was going to choke that one away….but she didn’t, stayed ferocious and determined.
Well done her. Hope it gives her loads of confidence for the rest of the season.

jane Says:

is this true? really?

Michal Samulski ‏@MichalSamulski 3m3 minutes ago
Azarenka becomes first player, that defeated S.Williams 4 times in a singles final: Miami ’09, Doha ’13, Cincinnati ’13 & Indian Wells ’16.

jalep Says:

Well? I don’t know, jane. But it fits the h2h. 17-3 Serena – before this match; now would be 17-4. I didnt realize the wins were all in finals. Vika’s a tough competitor.

Feeling a little bad for Serena – she’s so emotional – wanted this one today.

Jean Yves Fillion again ☺

Yay Vika! back to the top ten, Shirley? I’ll have to check…

Green Lady Says:

Congrats Vika, nice to see players that can rise to the Serena challenge, rather than being her play things, the domination gets a bit tiresome at times ….

Margot Says:

^ Comms said Vika is back in top 10

jane Says:

jalep, thanks. i guess i was just thinking that maybe venus or henin had more than 4 wins over serena in finals. but i guess not?

anyhow, nice win indeed. vika has struggled emotionally and physically so it’s good to see her slowly making her way back.

jane Says:

p.s. vika’s speech was so sweet.

p.p.s. did any of you read what the tournament director said about upcoming female players and how “attractive” they are? *rolling my eyes*

Margot Says:

jane, did he ask Vika to “Give me a twirl?”

jane Says:

very aggravating margot, sigh.

jalep Says:

I’m so happy to find other’s were interested in WTA this past week and today!

Margot Says:

I think there’s about half a dozen of us jalep.

BBB Says:

I wonder what Serena’s record is since she let Sasha go….

Good fo Vika. A loss after being up two breaks and a set would have been bad for her psychologically. I just wish she’d stop the screeching – I’d root for her wholeheartedly then.

chrisford1 Says:

17 years of Williams – good for the sport that Kerber and Vika won. With spates when both sisters were taking a break, woman’s tennis has been 20 years of dominance by them. At some point, the era must end , if nothing else – on aging.

Time for a new era, a changing of the guard. And try and restore women’s tennis to a level of popularity at least as high as it was when Li Na was winning trophies.
That new era, BTW, is unlikely to have Scream Queen Sharpova as a major force.

BBB Says:

I hope there’s a post about the moronic comments made by the Indian Wells CEO, who presumably will not hold that title in another 24 hours.

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