Victoria Azarenka will try to become the first woman to win three Indian Wells titles on Sunday, as she takes on Spaniard Paula Badosa.
The Belarussian outlasted a tough Jelena Ostapenko 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a thriller yesterday to reach her third final in the desert, after winning over Maria Sharapova in 2012 and Serena Williams in 2016.
“I thought the most important [thing], I would say today, was my fight, that I can be really proud of,” said Azarenka. “Analyzing the game, it was a lot of probably things that I could have maybe done a little bit better.
“Overall she was playing really incredible in the first set, not giving me much to do. I was just trying to find opportunity, actually create opportunity, for me to get back into the match, to take a little bit more control in the match, really fight for every ball.”
In this battle of former Grand Slam winners, it was Ostapenko who led with a set and a break.
“It was in general probably a good match but I feel like I was a better player today,” Ostapenko said. “I just missed some balls in deciding moments. I was a little bit unlucky.
“I think I was playing better and aggressive today,” she added. “Actually I think I could win the match in two sets. I was playing more against myself today.”
It’s been a crazy week in the desert in both draws, but about the only thing that has gone to form is Azarenka who has wins over Petra Kvitova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Jessica Pegula.
“I feel like right now I’m a bit more settled with a bit more structure, a little bit more discipline, which makes it not necessarily easier but a bit clearer what I need to do,” said Azarenka. “So it doesn’t take extra energy on that, so I can kind of focus my energy more on the fighting for every ball.”
Sunday, she’ll square off against the rising Badosa who reached her biggest career final cruising past Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-3.
“Mentally I think I’m very confident,” Badosa said. “I’m believing every point. Every day I’m working very hard as well. I think I’m progressing on a little bit of everything and that’s what is making my level going up. That’s why I’m in a final and playing against the best of the world.”
Azarenka and Badosa have never met before.
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