Indian Wells Women's Semifinals Feature Jabeur vs. Badosa and Azarenka vs. Ostapenko

Indian Wells Women's Semifinals Feature Jabeur vs. Badosa and Azarenka vs. Ostapenko

5 min read

This year, the BNP Paribas Open has been different than ever for several reasons, the most obvious being the timing. Held for the first time ever in October, four women have adapted well to Palm Springs in the fall, overcoming sizzling temperatures and on-fire opponents to make it to the semifinals.

At the start of the tournament, Universal Tennis INSIGHTS provided intel into the top contenders for winning the title. Although favorites Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek were knocked out, three of the Top 6 players with the highest odds are through to the semifinals. The men are still deciding the semifinals, while the women’s semifinals are taking place on Friday night.

Women's Semifinalists Odds of Winning the Title

Ons Jabeur — 32%

Victoria Azarenka — 27%

Paula Badosa — 23%

Jelena Ostapenko — 18%

Let’s take a closer look at the women's matchups coming up on Friday night:

(27) Victoria Azarenka (UTR Rating 13.01) vs. (24) Jelena Ostapenko (UTR Rating 12.94)

Azarenka, a two-time champion in the desert, started the tournament with a 6% chance of winning it all, and a 18% chance of making the semifinals. Now she faces Ostapenko for a place in the final, and INSIGHTS gives the Belarusian the edge with a 56% chance of appearing in Sunday's final.

"In terms of game-wise, conditions are pretty tricky here," Azarenka said. "It's about adjustment a lot and navigating through two weeks. It's a two-week event, so it also takes a lot of energy a lot of focus out of you."

The 32-year-old hasn’t played the Latvian since beating her at the 2019 French Open. Azarenka has notched victories over the likes of Petra Kvitova and Jessica Pegula, while Ostapenko stunned No. 2 seed Swiatek.

"If I play well, I'm a dangerous player and I can, I think, beat anyone," Ostapenko said.

According to INSIGHTS, Azarenka has the higher UTR Ratings (overall, three-month trending, and hard court), tougher best win (Aryna Sabalenka), and better record versus common opponents. Although Ostapenko has won more matches this year (28 to Azarenka’s 23), she has lost more (17 to Azarenka’s 8). It’s going to be a ball-bashing slugfest between these two big hitters as they enter Stadium 1 to start the night session at 9 p.m. ET.

I don’t necessarily think any differently,” Azarenka said of her strategy. “It’s kind of the same mindset, taking care of your side of the court and not letting the other, your opponent, control the outcome. I think that doesn’t necessarily change my approach. It may change some rallies, some shots, but approach definitely not.”



(12) Ons Jabeur (UTR Rating 13.09) vs. (21) Paula Badosa (UTR Rating 12.97)

At the WTA 1000, Jabeur had started off with the same odds of winning the crown (6%) as Azarenka and her opponent in the semifinals, Badosa. Jabeur has been playing phenomenal tennis in 2021, racking up 44 wins to 17 losses. This week, she has picked up dominant wins over seeds Danielle Collins and Anett Kontaveit, while Badosa has knocked out Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, and Angelique Kerber.

"I'm pretty glad that I stayed calm when I needed to be," Jabuer said after her win over Kontaveit. "It was very stressful at the end. But I'm glad that I got the win and looking forward to play. Why not get the title here?"

INSIGHTS gives Jabeur the edge over Badosa at 57%, with the 27-year-old Tunisian beating the 23-year-old Spaniard in a three-set battle in Miami. Jabeur also has the higher relevant UTR Ratings and a better recent win-loss record. But Badosa has the better record against common opponents, which is an overlooked stat but crucial to see how she could match up with Jabeur.

"I hope tonight she eats a lot of burgers and she cannot play," Badosa said, jokingly. "We were just talking now. It's really fun to play against her. We're really good friends again so I'm playing another friend... I always said she's one of the most talented players in the world. "

Jabeur, the most successful Tunisian female player in history, won her first WTA title this year in Birmingham and is guaranteed to crack the WTA Top 10 for the first time. Badosa won her first WTA title this year as well, in Belgrade. Neither she nor Jabeur have ever reached a WTA 1000 final.



Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Oct. 15, 2021.

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