One of the year’s most unlikeliest final. I expected a very close final though seeing how close the two are in the seedings for this tournament. And close match it was. First set went all the way to the breaker neither player hardly flinching on serve. Watch the solid hold from Victoria 1-1(adv on deuce).The one two punch simple as you like. This wasn’t a comfortable hold by any stretch by the Belarussian but such is needed to gain confidence for a final like this one. It is also kind of surprising to see a Spanish player in the final of an American hard court tournament, but Paula deserved it. She faced a formidable opponent in former world number one Azarenka though. Check out the forehand the broke Paula’s serve at 4-3(15-40). Padosa showing why she is knocking on the door of the top 10 in the tie break at 4-3. This was a bruising rally in which, let’s face it, Victoria did her utmost to stay in it but was outlasted in the heat of Indian Wells. The short forehand did her in at the end. Tie breaker went the way of Paula deservedly so. She had the better of Victoria in the rallies.
Let’s have a quick look at the serving department. Victoria was poor by her usually good standards. Serving 58% on first serve(just short of my benchmark of 60) didn’t help her cause. Badosa had 64% which was okay but her DF count shows the kind of pressure she was under ,11 to 7 for Victoria. Azarenka was all fired up for the second set. Its always the best thing for yourself to break early and she did that. Check out the cheeky drop shot at 1-0 adv. Point of the match 3-1 deuce. With the ball that low to hit a meaningful backhand volley, Victoria had not only to hit the ball right but see where her opponent was at the same time which is not easy at all. Ace count? Badosa 7 to Azarenka 5 , not much in it. But watch 5-1 first point. When serving to the right hander the down the line serve always statistically proven to be the BEST. Victoria emphatically sealing the set 6-2.
The third went all the way to the breaker. Pity it had to end that way. For myself a long third set with a difference of two games winning just like in the Slams would have been best. Confident service games all round here. Check out 3-2(40-0), the forehand, which I must say served Padosa well in this match, wasn’t good enough and well short. Azarenka will look back at the 10th game serving for the match at 5-4 as the point where it all got lost. Check out 40-30 she is down break point. Rally is going swimmingly for her she has just hit a deep forehand to the left corner of our screen. The return from Paula isn’t the best and no excuses for Victoria hitting the ball long there, absolutely not. Tie breaker was all Padosa. She was starting to find the corners with those winners at the right time. Watch the unstoppable backhand at 2-0. Paula with her very first WTA 1000 title with this win over Azarenka. All this despite clearly carrying a shoulder injury. I nod in approval.