Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka, Indian Wells Final Preview

Indian Wells Final: (1) Serena Williams vs (13) Victoria Azarenka

Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final will be a blockbuster encounter between two former champions at the event: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. This will be the first match between the pair in 2016, Serena was pushed to a third set by Azarenka in all three of their matches in 2015 and probably remains the American’s biggest threat on tour at the moment and moving forward over the next couple of seasons. This will be a special occasion for Serena Williams, being back in the final at Indian Wells for the first time since that infamous 2001 final. Whilst Azarenka is into her first major final for a couple of years and will be pumped up for this occasion.

 

Serena Williams has generally been in impressive form on route to the final at the BNP Paribas Open, the American has not dropped a set and is looking as strong and aggressive as ever. Serena recorded convincing straight set wins over Laura Siegemund, Yulia Putintseva and Kateryna Bondarenko before stepping up her game to record two more straight set victories over fellow top 5 players Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska. Serena’s 6-4 7-6 semi-final win over Radwanska was a strange one, Serena started the match really poorly as she was uncharacteristically showing no emotion and seemed disinterested. However, Serena was clearly too good for Aga when it mattered most in both of the sets, Serena eventually got fired up in the second set and played some sublime, aggressive tennis in the second set tiebreak to book her spot in Sunday’s final.

Victoria Azarenka has also shown some impressive form on route to the final at the BNP Paribas Open. The Belarusian has still lost just one match in 2016 (A loss to Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open, Serena’s only loss this year was also against Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open). Azarenka started the event with routine wins over Zarina Diyas and Shuai Zhang before being forced to work much harder for a 3 set win over Sam Stosur. Azarenka thumped Magdalena Rybarikova 6-0 6-0 in the quarter-finals before overcoming her toughest challenge of the event in a three set win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka booked her spot in the final with a 7-6 1-6 6-2 win over the Czech. Azarenka looked very solid from the baseline, however her serve was an issue, ending the match with 10 double faults. Azarenka will need to serve much better on Sunday if she is to record a rare victory over Serena.

 

Serena Williams holds a commanding 17-3 head-to-head record over Victoria Azarenka, however, despite the lopsided head-to-head record it is possible to make a case for Azarenka being Serena’s greatest rival over the last couple of years. Azarenka has pushed Serena to a third set in 5 of their last 6 matches including all 3 of their matches in 2015. The Belarussian actually held leads for lengthy periods in each of their matches last year and squandered 3 match points in their first match of the year in Madrid. Their most recent clash was at Wimbledon last year, Serena won that match 3-6 6-2 6-3, on of the matches of the season. 

This is an extremely important final for both ladies. Serena will be desperate to claim her first Indian Wells title since 2001 in her second appearance at the event since that year. Serena will not want to drop another final after her recent losses at the business end of Grand Slams. Whilst, Victoria Azarenka will be pumped up to be in her first final at a major event for years. I suspect Serena will make a statement in this match and win quite comfortably. Serena’s level this year has generally been very high and she will be primed for this final. Azarenka’s serve is likely to be a big problem in this match-up, whilst Serena is also capable of overpowering the Belarusian from the baseline. Serena must be wary of Azarenka after their matches in 2016 and will come out firing here. Serena for the win.

Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Victoria Azarenka in 2 sets


35 thoughts on “Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka, Indian Wells Final Preview”

    1. haha yeah luckily, I’m very confident that Serena will win, 2 or 3 sends dependants on her mood and whether she will make a slow start… will probably be keen to avoid a slow start given her recent troubles with starting slow which is why I think she will win in 2 rather than 3

      1. Your predictions have been very wrong every time I check your website out for tips to make a quick buck on tennis I choose the opposite. Took azsarenka thankfully, maybe less predictions more strategical advice, your followers will start to drop, wta the favorites dont always win like in ATP, a lot more upsets happen and I acctually enjoy that.

          1. My previews are not supposed to be definitive betting advice, it is a guide. No one can know for sure, please keep your rude and ignorant comments to yourself.

          2. So your saying that there was something wrong with picking Serena to win this match? Because if you are then that shows that you know nothing about tennis.

        1. Are you kidding? I predict more upsets than any other site like this. I think I do well, If you don’t, feel free to visit other sites. Bye.

  1. Serena wasn’t at her best yesterday, but it wasn’t her worst either. I have to say though, Azarenka’s serve against Rybarikova and Pliskova was absafreakinlutely horrible! She averaged 17 double faults in those two matches and she’s really struggled on her serve. Usually when Serena has a slow start, she’s always been able to put that behind her and have a solid start. Despite a shaky match against Radwanska, Serena really hasn’t been in danger. She’s gone 10 for 10 on sets won and came through to the final with flying colors without dropping a set. Her average time on the court is only six hours. But, Azarenka has spent at least eight to ten hours on court, having dropped two sets. Serena is very much aware of how good Azarenka is and she herself said that Azarenka is definitely back on track after struggling with injuries. Serena has averaged 30 aces to 12 double faults, along with an even 107 winners and unforced errors. But, Azarenka has averaged 18 aces to 25 double faults. I feel that Azarenka will put up a good fight against Serena. But, I predict that Serena will take this match in two close sets.

    1. Azarenka was very lucky to win in the SF. She is easily beatable but a consistent player with decent attacking skills. Unfortunately, Karolina choked in the first set.

      Azarenka is an actress on the tennis court and the way she screams is very intimidating to distract her opponents. Personally, I don’t think is a good sportsmanship. However, this will not work for Serena.

      Serena may be started slow again but she will beat Azarenka in 2.

      1. Yeah Pliskova did mess up the first set and I too think she should have won that match. Azarenka’s antics are getting tired, they will not work against Serena. I just hope Serena plays her best the whole match, if she does that she will win easily. I don’t think she has done that in a match against Azarenka for a while… Always has bad patches for some reason

        1. It is a bit over the top at times, that is for sure… I think it is forced rather than natural which is my problem with it

          1. I feel like she is acting from the drama scripts to show tennis fans that she is a fighter. However, I just think she is overly doing it. She needs Leonardo Di Caprio to teach her how to be an actress on the tennis court.

          2. She is a fighter no doubt, but for some reason she does come across as fake at times, although she may be genuine we can’t know… she is a great fighter though

    2. Yes you are right that Serena hasn’t always been at her best but she has always raised her level when it has mastered most which is the important thing. Yes, Azarenka’s serve is not looking good and will get smahed by Serena.

  2. I honestly thought that Serena’s match yesterday was the most sluggish one in her career. But after watching Azarenka’s match against Pliskova, I feel that Azarenka was worse than Serena! She had 10 double faults in her match in her win over Pliskova! I’m wondering if the wrist injury she had in Acapulco relapsed on her in Indian Wells again, or if she went way too hard on her first and second serves. One thing is sure though. She’s going to have to serve a lot better if she wants to take a set off of Serena. At this rate, I feel like it’ll be Serena in two tight sets.

    1. It was not the most sluggish match of her career, the start was strange but she did play some great tennis in the end.. Yes, you are right that her serve will need to improve dramatically, otherwise she will not win a set

  3. Unfortunately I hold a different view I am an ardent fun of Serena, however, I see Vika as one of the strong challengers of Rena. Vika is never intimidated by Serena. I want Serena to win, however, I am scarred to bits. I see Vika coming in with lot of strength and power and I hope a pray Rena is able to meet her squarely. No slow start Rena and pls do it 2 sets. #Rena’s army, we soldier on. Go Rena, Go Queen of the Court! !!!

  4. I don’t know who the heck said that. But, Serena’s serve is the best of all times in women’s tennis! If there’s anyone’s serve who’s always been off in this tournament, it’s Azarenka’s! She was worse than Serena on Friday night! I feel Serena will pull today’s off in two close sets.

  5. Vika is back! Mentally so strong: She saved 11/12 break points, many with strong serves.
    Back to Top 10 and NOW you can say that she really is back. Top 5 only a matter of time!

    Serena was disappointing for most part if the match; 1:5 down she played well but Vika didn’t let her back to the match.

    1. I’m not sure she ‘saved’ them, most were from unforced errors.. I think Serena always felt like she would win but she let Azarenka’s lead build too much.. although Serena should have broken for 5-5.. strange final overall

      1. I think Vikas biggest strength this week was her mentality: She stepped up her game, if she needed to (although Serena really forced her to a higher level).

        It was good stuff from Vika today. Biggest improvement to yesterday’s performance was her serve. 5 aces and as many as Serena or sth like that…
        Don’t know what you saw: Felt like 50:50 strong serves/UE how Vika saved break points.

        I think Top 5 only will be a matter of time…

  6. I did write that Serena was disappointing…

    Why? She is No,3 in Live Race and no 200 points behind No.5 in Live Rankings…

    1. Yeah she will get there but not certain that she will be a consistent member of the top 5, still has proven that yet, we will see in the coming months

  7. Really…? Do you have so many more players in sight who could be ranked higher than Vika at the end of 2016?
    I think Vika is one of the most consistent performers on tour, who is always one of the favorites to win big tournaments.

    1. She is in a group with a few others for now, if she goes on to win another big tournament in the near future then yes

  8. It was already her second title in this year…

    But I shortly thought something different: Does the WTA has, except of Serena, a consistent Top 5 player? There has been many changes in recent times…

    1. True but to be honest her draw to the title this week was not hard, and she benefited from Serena playing very poorly so I’m not yet convinced she is back. I think Radwanska deserves to be seen as a clear second at the moment given her last 8-9 months, has been very consistent.

  9. i think vika’s heart has always been strong. she fought as if no other day against pliskova which rightfully should have lost with all the stats behind her. but she did play the big points better. same in the final. not perfect, a lot to improve (heck, she was playing serena), but focused and strong in big points. serena was the same as SF or the rest of the tournaments, not very good, not very bad. she didn’t really raise her level from SF match.

    1. I think Serena’s level was quite a bit lower in the final, especially compared to a large part of her semi-final match where she actually played very well in parts… it was a strange final, I expect Serena to come back strong and win the title in Miami

  10. level of play is always dependent on opponents. rena didn’t bring her best for sure, but shouldn’t discredit what vika has brought on the table.

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