WATCH: Badosa avenged a tough Miami Open defeat to Jabeur to reach the biggest final of her career.

Paula Badosa’s breakthrough season reached has reached its zenith in Tennis Paradise with a maiden WTA 1000 final at the BNP Paribas Open, overcoming good friend Ons Jabeur, 6-3, 6-3 to book a championship clash with two-time champion Victoria Azarenka on Sunday.

“I think I’m playing the final on Sunday but I might still be dreaming!” Badosa exclaimed during her on-court interview.

The former junior prodigy is tentatively projected to make her Top 20 debut after a dominant main draw debut in the desert, withstanding a tense ending to convert her sixth match point against the Tunisian trailblazer and secure victory in 81 minutes on Stadium court.

Dropping just one set in her first four matches, the 23-year-old first turned heads on clay—winning her first title in Belgrade before reaching the last eight at Roland Garros—but has since become a force on all surfaces. With Indian Wells’ slow hard courts rewarding her precise baseline style, the Spaniard became the first from her country to reach the final four since Conchita Martinez in 2003. Still, Badosa found herself up against an even bigger history maker in Jabeur, who is set to become the first Arab woman to crack the Top 10 in the WTA rankings on Monday.

The pair last played in a second-round encounter at the Miami Open, where Jabeur narrowly won in three sets, and looked to play a similarly epic match early on as the two exchanged breaks in the opening set.

Badosa eased past reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber earlier in the week and gamely battled through some marathon games with Jabeur to eventually regain the initiative. To the delight of her team—one that once again includes childhood coach Jorge Garcia—break a second time to put herself a set from the final.


Badosa played her best tennis on key points, saving nine of ten break points faced throughout the match.

Badosa played her best tennis on key points, saving nine of ten break points faced throughout the match.

The No. 21 seed only improved in the second set as she raced ahead 5-2, countering Jabeur’s all-court craft to perfection, tracking drop shots and adding shape to her groundstrokes to force her friendly rival to play an extra ball.

Serving down match point, however, the No. 12-seeded Jabeur responded with aplomb, playing some of her best tennis from the brink of defeat to saved three match points and nab a 0-40 advantage in the following game.

Looking to avoid the Kerberesque comeback she experienced in the quarterfinals, Badosa bore down hard to save all three break points and earn three more match points, shaking off a nervy double fault to find herself falling to the ground in elation when Jabeur’s 35th unforced error fell long.

Playing profoundly clutch tennis when it mattered most, Badosa saved nine of 10 break points faced on serve and struck 15 winners to 22 unforced errors in the straight-set affair. She will next take on Azarenka for what would be the second and biggest title of her young career.

A win on Sunday would also fortify Badosa’s chances of a maiden WTA Finals berth in Guadalajara, where Krejcikova, Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, and Karolina Pliskova have already qualified.