Paula Badosa denied Victoria Azarenka a slice of WTA Indian Wells Open history as the former world number one failed to become the first three-time winner of the singles event after defeat in Sunday's gruelling final.

Azarenka, also a winner in 2012 and 2016, had to come back from a set and a break down in the semi-final, and for a while looked like good preparation for the battle that Badosa provided.

But in the end Badosa prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 7-6 (7-2) after three hours, four minutes on court, securing only her second title in what was just her second final of the season while becoming the first Spanish woman to claim the title in Indian Wells.

A highly competitive start saw a combined total of nine break points go to waste in the first four games alone, and when Azarenka did finally lose a service game to go 4-3 down, she emphatically hit back at the first time of asking.

She had no option but to repeat that feat soon after when Badosa broke again to take a 6-5 lead, and she duly obliged to set up a tie-break.

But Badosa got the better of two-time grand slam champion Azarenka in the tie-break, despite the latter overturning a four-point deficit to go level at 5-5.

Azarenka appeared re-energised at the start of the second set, though, charging into a 3-0 lead inside 11 minutes, her level of intensity suddenly leagues ahead of her opponent's.

Badosa only showed brief glimpses of her ability and Azarenka had few issues levelling the match, her class on full display in the fifth game as she read a wide drop shot and replied with a sensational cross-court effort.

After such a colossal fight to get back on level terms it was perhaps to be expected that Azarenka would drop off a little early on in the decider, but a bad miss from Badosa allowed the Belarussian to recover from a break and she consolidated to tie the set at 2-2.

The pair continued to slog it out thereafter with neither woman giving an inch, Badosa's often-brutal power countered nicely by Azarenka's athleticism.

But Badosa was her own worst enemy as she overhit two shots to allow Azarenka to get what looked likely to be the decisive break, but the 32-year-old failed to serve out the match and, perhaps predictably, a tie-break ultimately beckoned.

Badosa's energy reserves suddenly looked far deeper than her opponent's as she moved her around the court with almost surgical precision, her eventual 7-2 win in the tie-break speaking to the ferocity she displayed to win the comfortably biggest title of her career to date.

Garbine Muguruza could not keep the momentum going at the Indian Wells Open after winning a WTA title last week and the former world number one was followed out the door by Maria Sakkari.

Muguruza, who claimed the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, was surprisingly upstaged 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in an upset on Saturday.

Tomljanovic had been 0-6 against top-10 players this year heading into the match but had just enough to edge the fifth seed and two-time grand slam champion with some timely breaks of serve. 

The world number 47 Tomljanovic is into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in seven appearances and next faces 26th seed Tamara Zidansek. 

"I was really looking forward to playing Garbine, because I did lose [to her] the last couple of times," Tomljanovic said in her on-court interview. "I did try to focus on that one time I beat her [in 2014], and tried to channel that energy, so I was really happy that I got through today."

GOLUBIC STUNS SAKKARI

Sixth seed Sakkari – a semi-finalist at this year's French and US Opens – also fell victim to a shock result, going out 5-7 6-3 6-2 to Viktorija Golubic in their first meeting. 

The pair kept trading service breaks in the opening set, five in all, before Golubic tightened up her game for the final two sets. 

After breaking the Swiss three times in the first set, Sakkari converted just one of four break points the rest of the match. 

Golubic had lost in the first round in her previous two trips to Indian Wells but is now on to the third, where she will face Anna Kalinskaya.

 

ANDREESCU HOLDS OFF RISKE

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu saw a potential straight-sets win slip away before recovering to defeat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2.

Andreescu – the defending champion after the 2020 WTA Premier 1000 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – led 4-1 in the second set but watched her advantage evaporate as Riske forced a decider, which the Canadian ended up taking comfortably as she faced only one break point in the last. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova eased past Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-2, while third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova was pushed to a third set before prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-1 against Zarina Diyas. 

Angelique Kerber – the 10th seed and three-time major winner – went the distance to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, while 15th seed Coco Gauff downed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 in her debut match at the tournament. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, prevailed 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 over Anastasija Sevastova and 18th seed Anett Kontaveit – Andreescu's next opponent – moved on when Martina Trevisan retired down 6-3 5-2. 

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is refusing to be downcast after her defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, insisting that she is focused on "the bigger picture".

The 18-year-old's 10-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at the Indian Wells Open – just her fifth tour-level event – as Sasnovich won in straight sets.

Sasnovich is ranked 100th in the world, but the 27-year-old has 16 career victories over opponents in the top 20, with Raducanu ranking 17th, and six over those in the top 10.

Raducanu cites the experience gap between herself and Sasnovich as a major factor in her defeat and believes that the loss can be taken as a positive lesson.

"I'm still very, very new to the tour," Raducanu said. "I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened, so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked.

"[Sasnovich's] been on tour, probably been 4-2 down like hundreds of times whereas I've been 4-2 up... it's my third WTA tournament this year. [Experience] will come in time. Just got to not rush it and keep going and get my head back to the drawing board really.

"I didn't go in there putting any pressure on myself because in my mind I'm so inexperienced that I'm just taking it all in. You're going to have highs, and you're always going to have some lows where you're disappointed with how you performed.

"Aliaksandra played an extremely great match. You could tell she's more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than I did. She deserved to win that.

"I think it's going to take me time to adjust, really, to what's going on. For the bigger picture, I'll be thanking this moment. That's the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed."

Raducanu is set to take part at the Transylvania Open that starts on October 25, as well as the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was sensationally beaten in her first match following her Flushing Meadows triumph, going down in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The Belarussian, who is currently ranked 100th, stunned the 19-year-old Briton 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Raducanu had been on a 10-match winning streak coming into her maiden Indian Wells campaign.

"I'm still so new to everything. The experiences that I'm going through right now, even though I might not feel 100 per cent amazing right now, I know they're for the greater good," Raducanu said after the defeat.

"I mean, I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."

Raducanu, who did not drop a set during her US Open run, appeared in control early after winning the opening six points, but Sasnovich claimed the first break in the third game.

Unforced errors proved costly for Raducanu as the clean-striking Sasnovich capitalized to win the first set, before opening the second set with another break.

Raducanu responded with an immediate break back and led 4-2 in the second set, before the Belarussian hit back by winning the next four games to topple the British teenager.

"It was a really good match for me. I play really well," Sasnovich said. "I know she just won US Open. I lost there in the first round. But I tried to go on court, I tried to enjoy. I did everything right."

 

FORMER WINNER HALEP PROGRESSES

Sasnovich will face two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep in the third round after the Romanian defeated Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 in one hour and 33 minutes.

The 11th seed, who split with long-time coach Darren Cahill last month amid an injury-disrupted year, was down a break early before working her way back and dominating the tiebreak.

Halep broke twice in a more controlled second set to claim victory in her 10th appearance at Indian Wells.

"I missed a lot playing tennis at this level this year because I've been injured and many months, I couldn't play matches," said Halep, who won at Indian Wells in 2015. "I came here a little more aggressive than normal and I'm trying to improve my game and myself."

 

KVITOVA CRUISES AS TOP SEEDS WIN

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova eased into the last 32 with a 6-2 6-2 triumph over Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands.

Seventh seed Kvitova set up a showdown with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka after she beat Magda Linette 7-5 3-0 in a walkover. Kvitova leads Azarenka 5-3 in head-to-head battles.

Second seed Iga Swiatek dominated Croatian Petra Martic 6-1 6-3 to seal her passage into the third round, while fourth seed Elina Svitolina got past Teresa Martincova 6-2 7-5.

Beaten 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez triumphed over experienced Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2 6-3 and will play ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round after she easily accounted for Madison Keys 6-3 6-1.

Emma Raducanu still has so much to improve and it is far too early to declare her a contender to win every tournament, according to Tim Henman.

The 18-year-old achieved stunning success at the US Open, winning the grand slam event as a qualifier without dropping a set.

Raducanu will play her first match since that famous Flushing Meadows triumph when she takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The youngster has been rated as favourite to win the tournament, which is seen as one of the most prestigious outside of the four majors.

There is already talk of her qualifying for the lucrative season-ending WTA Finals and triumphing at Wimbledon next year, having burst onto the scene in 2021 by reaching round four at All England Club.

But fellow Briton Henman urged fans to show caution with what they expect from Raducanu before her first match in 27 days against seasoned pro Sasnovich.

Raducanu has regularly discussed her lack of experience at tour level while she searches for a new coach to show her the ropes and Henman did not want to entertain discussions of her winning Wimbledon in 2022.

"I think that is probably getting a little ahead of ourselves," Henman said to talkSPORT. 

"She has shown her enormous potential by what she did in New York, but she is still so young and so inexperienced. 

"She has played so few events on the tour, let alone at grand slam level. I think it’s very easy to get ahead of ourselves.

"Regarding some of the young up and coming players, to really understand where they are at and their development, for me you get a very good insight once they have played every tournament twice.

"To put it into context, she has never played the clay court swing, she’s never played Roland Garros, she has never played the Australian Open.

"Once she has played all those events twice, then we will be able to assess where her game is at.

"Right now, it is as much about the process as the outcome and keep developing her game."

Henman, though, was in no doubt that Raducanu is a prodigious talent.

He added: "What is exciting is that she can improve in so many areas. 

"It is easy to focus on her tennis game, but she can get fitter, stronger, faster and gain experience playing at the highest level and continue improving her tennis game.

"If she does that then I think she will go on and win more tournaments in the future.

"It was a privilege to be on the side of the court for all her main draw matches and just see the quality of her tennis at close quarters.

"Her resilience mentally, her composure and the consistency was incredible. To win 20 straight sets to qualify and win a grand slam is unprecedented in our sport, it was a real pleasure to watch."

While Raducanu received a first-round bye, Sasnovich had an easy opener as she beat Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in straight sets.

The Belarusian has never won a WTA Tour event or reached the last eight of a major.

Kim Clijsters' first appearance at the Indian Wells Open in a decade did not last long, the two-time champion eliminated in the opening round.

Clijsters remains winless since coming out of retirement on the WTA Tour, falling 6-1 2-6 6-2 to Katerina Siniakova on Thursday. 

A four-time grand slam champion, the 38-year-old Clijsters has lost all five of her singles matches since her return last year. 

"I think overall, there's definitely moments where I'm feeling really good out there, and there's moments where I feel too inconsistent," Clijsters – a winner at Indian Wells in 2003 and 2005 – told reporters.

"That's part of this process in general, it's not going to be a smooth ride, and that's what I'm going to try to improve every time I'm out there."

World number 53 Siniakova converted six of nine break points on Clijsters' serve and moved on to face 10th seed Angelique Kerber at the WTA Premier 1000 event.

 

GOLUBIC HOLDS OFF VONDROUSOVA

The day's only duel between top-50 players saw world number 46 Viktorija Golubic outlast 37th-ranked Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 4-6 6-3. 

Both players struggled with their own service games, combining for three aces and 17 double faults, but it was the Swiss who managed to convert on eight of 14 break-point chances and come out on top. 

It was Golubic's first win against a player in the top 50 since joining those ranks herself in July; she had been 0-3 against them since then. 

 

GARCIA RALLIES PAST FLIPKENS, RISKE GETS RARE INDIAN WELLS WIN

Caroline Garcia fought back to defeat Kirsten Flipkens 5-7 6-4 6-0 in a match that took two hours, nine minutes to complete, firing seven aces and winning 71.2 per cent of points on her first serve. 

The Frenchwoman, who had been upset by qualifiers at her two previous tournaments in Ostrava and Chicago, meets 15th seed Coco Gauff in the second round. 

Alison Riske celebrated a victory for just the second time in seven trips to Indian Wells, cruising past qualifier Liang En-shuo 6-2 6-2 to set up a second-round matchup against 16th seed and former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. 

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens had to come from behind to progress against Heather Watson after almost three hours in the Indian Wells Open first round.

Stephens, who is currently ranked 73rd in the world, having been number three on the WTA Tour in 2018, triumphed 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-1 over Watson in two hours, 50 minutes on Wednesday.

In a see-sawing match, there were six breaks in the opening set, as Watson got the edge early on Stephens' serve at the WTA Premier 1000 event.

Stephens steadied by claiming a late break in the second to level the match, before dominating the third set.

Playing at her 10th Indian Wells Open, Stephens won seven consecutive games after the match was 5-5 in the second set.

"After the first set, that was disappointing to lose that one, but I felt like it was a battle and I was still in the match," Stephens said. "I knew I had to keep fighting and that's what I did, and I'm just really pleased to have squeaked out a win here."

 

KEYS ON SONG IN OPENER

Former world number seven Madison Keys moved through to the second round with a 6-0 7-5 win over fast-finishing Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

American Keys won 21 consecutive points as part of a streak where she clinched the first nine games of the match, withstanding Kenapi's late push.

Keys will take on Russian ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the third round.

 

SAMSONOVA, MARTIC, ROGERS AND PUTINTSEVA PROGRESS

Liudmila Samsonova, who made the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this year, needed more than two hours to get past Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

Samsonova will face countrywoman and 25th seed Veronika Kudermetova in the second round.

Petra Martic won through to take on second seed Iga Swiatek with a 6-4 6-4 victory over American wildcard Katie Volynets.

Ash Barty's US Open conqueror Shelby Rogers claimed her 25th win for the year, getting past Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (7-2) 6-2, while Yulia Putintseva won 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 over experienced German Andrea Petkovic to set up a showdown with fellow Kazakh player and 13th seed Elena Rybakina.

Emma Raducanu said she will not be rushed into appointing a new coach as the US Open champion prepares to make her Indian Wells debut this week.

Teen sensation Raducanu made history when she became the first qualifier to win a grand slam title at Flushing Meadows last month.

The 18-year-old split from coach Andrew Richardson following her stunning triumph in New York, revealing she wants to work with someone who has greater WTA Tour experience. 

Raducanu will work with Jeremy Bates, the Lawn Tennis Association's national coach, when she plays her first tournament as a major champion at the Indian Wells Open in California.

The Brit, who will face Maria Camila Osorio Serrano or Aliaksandra Sasnovich first up after being given a bye into the second round, will take her time to mull over who will be her permanent coach.

She said in a press conference on Tuesday: "Jeremy is part of women's tennis at the LTA so while he's here he's helping me out.

"But going forwards I'm just going to wait and find the right person, I'm not going to rush into anything. I want to make sure I make the right decision.

"Even though I'm quite young I've got a lot of experience banked and at the end of the day you're out there on your own and you have to be your own coach on the court, so I'm pretty comfortable."

Raducanu is relishing being back in action after a whirlwind few weeks off the court following her US Open heroics.

"I'm very excited to be here," Raducanu added.

"It's my first time playing in Indian Wells, and it's a beautiful place. I just can't wait to get started. I love the facilities, everything is just so nice to be around.

"I don't really want to change anything. What got me to this point is not thinking anything differently so if I put additional thoughts in my head then that will just create a problem I think. I'm just going to keep going about my business and staying the same.

"It's been a very cool three weeks. I got to experience some great things that I probably never would have got to do before but after that I just went straight back to training and focusing on this competition and the upcoming ones that I've got lined up."

Aryna Sabalenka will not play at Indian Wells after announcing she has tested positive for coronavirus.

In an Instagram Story post, the world number two revealed she feels "okay" while isolating after her COVID-19 result, though is "really sad" not to be playing in the tournament this year.

Sabalenka had been due to return to action for the first time since losing at the semi-final stage of the US Open last month.

"Unfortunately, I've tested positive at Indian Wells and won’t be able to compete," the Belarusian posted on Sunday.

"I've started my isolation and I’ll be staying here until I’m cleared by the doctors and health officials. So far I'm feeling okay but really sad to not be able to play this year."

The absence of Sabalenka is a further blow for the event, considering world number one Ash Barty had already pulled out.

Naomi Osaka is another big-name absentee, along with Serena Williams, while the men's edition is minus Novak Djokovic after the five-time champion opted to withdraw.

Emma Raducanu will be involved, however, after the US Open champion accepted a wild card, while Kim Clijsters has done the same as she prepares to continue her comeback with a first appearance at Indian Wells in a decade.

Andy Murray is a wild-card entrant for the men's tournament, with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

Emma Raducanu has been given a wildcard entry to the Indian Wells Open in her first tournament since winning the US Open.

The 18-year-old claimed a sensational triumph at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, becoming the first qualifier to take a major title.

Raducanu defeated fellow unseeded teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final of only her second grand slam.

The Briton did not drop a set throughout her fairytale run and climbed from 150th in the WTA rankings to now sit 22nd.

And Raducanu's remarkable display has earned her the opportunity to enjoy further stateside success at Indian Wells, having missed the cut when the entry list was first announced during the US Open.

She still has an outside chance of making the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, with appearances planned at tournaments in Russia and Romania later in October.

Raducanu's hopes of another deep run at Indian Wells have been boosted by the absence of superstar pair Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, who have both withdrawn from the event.

Former world number one Naomi Osaka unsurprisingly withdrew from next month's Indian Wells Masters, having flagged a break from tennis following her US Open meltdown.

The tournament confirmed 2018 champion Osaka's absence on Wednesday, with the Indian Wells Masters scheduled to take place from October 4-17 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka's US Open title defence came crashing down in a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 third-round capitulation at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez earlier this month.

Up a set and serving for the match at 6-5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

Amid boos in New York, Japanese star Osaka was also warned after hitting a ball into the crowd at Flushing Meadows.

After the surprise exit, Osaka told reporters she planned to "take a break from playing for a while."

She added: "I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don't feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal. I didn't really want to cry.

"I feel like… this is very hard to articulate. I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match [tearing up]. Sorry."

It comes following a difficult couple of months due to mental health concerns as a result of "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open.

Osaka withdrew from May's French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo and was reduced to tears during a news conference in Cincinnati.

 

Emma Raducanu still has the hunger to continue improving following her record-breaking US Open triumph and is targeting a possible return to action at Indian Wells.

The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a grand slam when defeating Leylah Fernandez ​in straight sets in Saturday's final at Flushing Meadows.

Raducanu, ranked 150 by the WTA before beginning her three-week long tournament, did not drop a single set across her 10 matches.

That victory in New York capped a life-changing couple of months for Raducanu, who also reached the last 16 of Wimbledon in her only other grand slam appearance before withdrawing due to medical reasons.

After spending a few days away from the court and taking in some of the sights the Big Apple has to offer, the Briton is ready to start preparing for her next tournament.

"I have a few days' rest and recovery," Raducanu, who became the first British female to win a major tournament since Virginia Wade on home soil at Wimbledon 44 years ago, told CNBC's Closing Bell programme.

"I think it was needed after the last seven weeks but then I am straight back to training and hungry to get better and come back out and play some more tournaments."

 

Raducanu was originally due to take part in qualifying for the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic later this month, but she may instead wait for next month's delayed Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where a wildcard entry is likely.

"After the US Open I wanted to give myself this week to completely switch off from tennis because it's been an extremely intense but rewarding seven weeks," she told the WTA's official website. 

"But I've worked very hard to finish on such a high with the US Open, a whole week off was needed.

"I know I'll get back to work probably Monday or early next week to get back to training again. Schedule-wise, I'm not sure. Maybe Indian Wells, I don't know. I'm going back to London before my next tournament for sure."

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