It would have been rather unlikely to have predicted this year’s singles finals at the BNP Paribas Open, as both the men’s and women’s championship matches featured players outside of the World’s Top 25. Despite lesser-known stars in the later rounds of the event, the level of tennis showcased was impeccable, leading to career-best titles and history-making moments from Spain’s Paula Badosa and Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
On the women’s side, Badosa became the first Spanish woman to hoist the Indian Wells trophy in singles with a breathtaking 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2) win over two-time champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
The Belarusian served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but couldn’t close it out against the tenacious Badosa. Badosa had four winners in the tiebreak to clinch the three-hour four-minute victory – the year’s longest WTA singles final.
Badosa’s path to the finals included stellar victories over four Top 25 players: Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejčíková, Angelique Kerber, and Ons Jabeur. Her remarkable run makes it back-to-back tournament years that a debutante captures the BNP Paribas Open title after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu did so in 2019.
Although not his debut in Indian Wells, Norrie – who carried an 0-2 record heading into this year’s event – also captured the biggest title of his career with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili. Norrie became the fifth ATP player ranked outside the Top 25 and the first-ever Brit to be crowned champion at the BNP Paribas Open.
Norrie managed to knock out home-court favourites Tennys Sandgren and Tommy Paul, as well as Roberto Bautista Agut, Diego Schwartzman, and Grigor Dimitrov en route to the finals. The Brit won the first set in each of those contests but faced some adversity against Basilashvili in the finals, where he was a set and break down early in the second set. However, Norrie broke back to level the second set at 2-2 and carried that momentum all the way up to match point.
The title is Norrie’s first at an ATP Masters 1000 event and the second singles title of his career. He climbs 10 spots to a career-best ranking – World No. 16.