Victoria Azarenka will go for her third title at Indian Wells in the women's singles final on Sunday.
Azarenka reached the championship match in thrilling fashion, as she rebounded from a set down against Jelena Ostapenko.
Azarenka's first two titles in the California desert came three years apart. There have been three tournaments played at Indian Wells since her last title in 2016. The event was not played in 2020 and was pushed back to October this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paula Badosa will be Azarenka's opponent. The Spaniard cruised to a straight-set victory over Ons Jabeur in Friday's second semifinal.
Badosa earned her first-ever title on the WTA Tour in May in Serbia. Her final appearance at Indian Wells is a continuation of her career-best season in which she advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Women's Semifinals Results
No. 27 Victoria Azarenka def. No. 24 Jelena Ostapenko, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
No. 21 Paula Badosa def. No. 12 Ons Jabeur, 6-3, 6-3
Azarenka battled through her toughest match of the tournament to date to reach her third final at Indian Wells.
The No. 27 seed lost her first set of the tournament to open the match against Ostapenko.
Ostapenko got out to a two-game lead in the second set before Azarenka flipped the match on its head.
Azarenka captured six of the next seven games in the second set to level the contest. She gained a slight advantage in the third set to win 7-5.
Azarenka won despite not having a massive advantage in any of the major statistics. Ostapenko had the better percentage on first serves and first-serve returns. She also delivered 49 winners over the three-set match.
The 32-year-old last reached a final on the WTA Tour last October, when she fell to Aryna Sabalenka in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Azarenka advanced to the 2020 U.S. Open final. She was unable to discover form at this year's majors. Her best finish was in the fourth round of the French Open.
Azarenka will face Badosa for the first time in her career in Sunday's final. The Spaniard survived a surge in the final few games of the second set from Jabeur to close out her straight-set win.
Badosa put away Jabeur on her sixth match point of the second set. The win was an extension of a remarkable run in Indian Wells for the Spaniard.
Christopher Clarey @christophclarey
Paula Badosa into her first big-ticket WTA final. Playing and moving so well. Beats Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-3 to set up final with Victoria Azarenka in Indian Wells If Badosa maintains her level, it will be a very good one Lots of emotions tonight after her breakthrough #getty https://t.co/QGbxAD4YRx
The French Open quarterfinalist defeated Coco Gauff and Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets to reach the final eight. She took care of Angelique Kerber in two sets in the previous round.
Badosa will be playing in the biggest final of her career on Sunday. She won the Serbia Ladies Open over Ana Konjuh in May. Konjuh retired from that match after two games in the second set.
If Badosa wins, it would cap off a fantastic season that has also featured an Olympic quarterfinal berth.
It will be hard for the Spaniard to beat Azarenka in the manner she defeated the four seeded players in the previous rounds. Azarenka has experience in finals at Indian Wells and has been on this stage countless times before.