Two-time champ Victoria Azarenka reaches Indian Wells final

10/16/2021 1:16:56 AM EST

Victoria Azarenka is on the verge of becoming the winningest champion in the history of the WTA Tour's Indian Wells, Calif., event.

The 27th-seeded Belarusian player advanced to the final of the BNP Paribas Open with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over 24th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on Friday.

Azarenka, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2016, will oppose 21st-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain in the title match on Sunday. Badosa topped 12th-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-3, 6-3 in the second semifinal.

Azarenka is one of nine WTA players who share the record of two Indian Wells championships since the event was established in 1989. She is part of an illustrious list that also includes Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Daniela Hantuchova and Maria Sharapova.

Neither Azarenka nor Ostapenko possessed a dominant serve Friday, as they combined for four aces and 14 double faults. Azarenka proved slightly more successful on break opportunities, converting five of her eight chances to Ostapenko's 4 of 13 success rate.

Ostapenko, already up a set, held a 2-0 lead in the second set before Azarenka won the next five games. Azarenka broke serve in the opening game of the final set before Ostapenko pulled level at 3-3. A decisive service break gave Azarenka a 6-5 lead, and she saved three break points in the final game to seal the match.

"I thought the most important (thing) ... was my fight, that I can be really proud of," Azarenka said, in her post-match press conference. "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."

Badosa, 23, is headed to the final of a WTA 1000 tournament for the first time in her career. Her best showing in a Grand Slam event came when she reached the quarterfinals of the French Open this summer.

Badosa has made just one other WTA final in her career, when she won the title at Belgrade, Serbia, in May.

The biggest struggle for Badosa on Friday arguably was closing out the match. She couldn't convert three match points on Jabeur's serve at 5-2 in the second set, then dropped the first three points on her own serve in the next game. Badosa shook off the three break points and eventually wrapped up the win on her sixth match point.

--Field Level Media

NFL

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 00:00:51 EST Cowboys cruise past skidding Saints
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 21:18:14 EST Bills, Patriots set for Monday night battle for AFC East lead
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 17:51:39 EST Cowboys activate DE DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) from IR
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 17:38:09 EST Cowboys road favorites against injury-riddled Saints
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 16:59:49 EST NFL suspends Antonio Brown 3 games for violating protocols
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 00:15:06 EST Raiders WR DeSean Jackson (calf) misses practice
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 14:31:09 EST Broncos activate LT Garett Bolles off COVID list
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 12:47:04 EST Vikings activate DT Dalvin Tomlinson from COVID list
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 11:39:22 EST Steelers add LB Robert Spillane to COVID list
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 11:31:51 EST Report: Saints RB Alvin Kamara (knee) won't play Thursday

MLB

Thu, 02 Dec 2021 11:27:19 EST Red Sox reacquire OF Jackie Bradley Jr. in trade with Brewers
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 00:53:31 EST MLB locks out players in first work stoppage since 1994-95
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 20:55:33 EST RHP Marcus Stroman, OF Clint Frazier join Cubs
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 20:16:22 EST Rangers sign RHP Jon Gray to four-year deal
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 19:51:38 EST Twins sign RHP Dylan Bundy to 1-year deal, plus option
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:39:01 EST Former Brooklyn Dodger Don Demeter dies at 86
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:52:45 EST Tigers officially sign Javy Baez to 6-year deal
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:26:39 EST Reports: Dodgers bring back Chris Taylor on multiyear deal
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 18:24:22 EST RHP Mark Melancon agrees with Arizona on 2-year deal
Wed, 01 Dec 2021 17:01:20 EST Former Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt dies at 66

NBA

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 00:57:33 EST NBA roundup: Grizzles set NBA mark with 73-point winning margin
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:13:30 EST Suns seek 19th straight win in rematch with Warriors
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 00:31:40 EST Spurs swamp Blazers, earn season-best third straight win
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:58:47 EST Suns take down Pistons for team-record 18th straight win
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:18:46 EST Grizzlies set NBA record with 73-point win over Thunder
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 22:47:19 EST Raptors stop Bucks’ winning streak as Giannis Antetokounmpo sits
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 22:55:52 EST DeMar DeRozan, Bulls too much for Knicks
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 20:14:23 EST Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf) out Thursday vs. Raptors
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 19:27:05 EST Resurgent Rockets aim for fifth straight win vs. Cole Anthony, Magic
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 19:57:56 EST LeBron James cleared to return for Lakers' game vs. Clippers

NHL

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 02:10:13 EST Devils, Jets both seek return to early-season form
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:29:55 EST NHL roundup: Panthers overturn 3-goal deficit vs. Sabres
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:29:12 EST Rangers meet Sharks in matchup of streaking squads
Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:24:33 EST Flames down faltering Kings to extend hot streak
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:26:40 EST Quick-strike Stars defeat Blue Jackets for 6th straight win
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:44:56 EST Kirill Kaprizov continues hot streak as Wild dump Devils
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:56:30 EST Jeremy Swayman, Bruins blank Predators
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 22:26:50 EST Erik Karlsson's OT goal carries Sharks past Isles
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 23:34:39 EST Senators edge Hurricanes, end six-game skid
Thu, 02 Dec 2021 22:27:58 EST Patrick Kane's shootout goal lifts Blackhawks past Capitals