In the first final after 15 years, Serena Williams failed to get a hat-trick at the event as she bowed out to Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-4 in the final at the BNP Paribas Open. This win has brought Vika back into the game after a considerable drop in rankings due to injury. She is due at No.8, a return to the top 10 for the first time since August 2014.
The former World No.1 and two time grand slam champion Azarenka, got the opening break in the first set to assure a comfortable spot in the game. Then again, she broke Williams twice in the second set and wrapped the match, just shy of 90 minutes.
This is the second victory for Vika at Indian Wells, the first one coming in 2012. With four wins over Williams overall, this might be a signal to a start of a brilliant rivalry, given that Williams is undeterred despite her age.
“I had no doubt in my mind that I will give everything I can,” Azarenka told ESPN in a court side interview. “I couldn’t control how she was going to play and she was throwing some bombs there. But I stayed tough because it’s the only way to win, to stay strong, to keep doing what’s been working. I just wanted to work hard, give it my all, and it worked.”
The match took place after a dramatic turn of events when Raymond Moore, the tournament director, exclaimed controversial remarks on women tennis, to which he later apologized. These remarks were highly criticized by many players later on, including Serena Williams.