WATCH: Badosa is projected to make a Top 15 debut after winning her second career WTA title.

Paula Badosa has found her desert oasis, overcoming a monumental effort from two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Victoria Azarenka, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (2) to win the biggest title of her career.

Badosa stood two points from defeat when the former No. 1 served for the match at 5-4 but reeled off eight of nine points and took a decisive lead in the subsequent Sudden Death to triumph in three hours and four minutes on Sunday.

Ranked outside the Top 20 at the start of the fortnight despite a revelatory season that already included a Mutua Madrid Open semifinal, first title in Belgrade, and a Roland Garros quarterfinal, the 23-year-old is projected to make her Top 15 debut. The win also dramatically improves her chances of clinching a WTA Finals berth in Guadalajara, having beaten four Top 20 players in six matches: Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur.

Taking on Azarenka for the first time, Badosa twice led the Belarusian by a break only to see both leads evaporate into a first-set tiebreaker. Azarenka, who was looking for just her second title—and first win in a final, having received a walkover from Naomi Osaka at the Western & Southern Open last summer—since giving birth to son Leo at the end of 2016.


Badosa was two points from defeat in the tenth game but roared back in the ensuing final-set tiebreaker.

Badosa was two points from defeat in the tenth game but roared back in the ensuing final-set tiebreaker.

Azarenka managed another comeback from 0-4 down in the tiebreaker only for Badosa to score a scintillating set point to move within a set of the finish line.

The momentum swung back towards the No. 27 seed early in the second, however, as Azarenka quickly moved ahead 5-1 and served it out at her first opportunity.

Continuing to counter Badosa’s aggression with stalwart defense, Azarenka scored what seemed like a decisive break in the ninth game, only to come undone by four unforced errors from 30-0 up.

Badosa replied with aplomb, winning eight of nine points and another big lead in the final-set tiebreaker, ending the epic with a fearless forehand winner.

In all, she struck 44 winners to 50 unforced errors and though Azarenka played the marginally cleaner match—48 winners to 42 errors—she will rue how she handled her serve so close to victory.