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March 8 - 21, 2021

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6 absolutely unforgettable matches from this year’s BNP Paribas Open

by Jeff Donaldson

What an unforgettable tournament.

The BNP Paribas Open 2019 is officially wrapped and it’s hard to believe that it’s already over. Fans, both on the grounds and watching at home, were treated to a splendid display of tennis excellence throughout the two weeks of play, from high-quality clashes of former champions to dream runs come true in Sunday’s final.

Join us as we go take a stroll down memory lane and reflect the tournament’s best matches.

6. Stan Wawrinka def. Marton Fucsovics, R2 – 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5

It was the first true epic of the tournament, with three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 3 Wawrinka (unseeded at the tournament this year as he continues his comeback from injury) taking on surprising nemesis, Fucsovics of Hungary, in the second round.

Sunday, March 10 2019 – Stan Wawrinka plays Marton Fucsovics in the 2nd round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Elise Sterck/BNP Paribas Open)

The two contested a similarly epic match at Rogers Cup in Toronto last summer, and their clash in the southern California desert was no dud. Fucsovics’ expert athleticism and defensive skills forced Wawrinka to come up with absolute brilliance in the tail end of the encounter, which finally concluded after three hours, 24 minutes of electric tennis on the ever-intimate Stadium 3 court.

5. Serena Williams def. Victoria Azarenka, R2 – 7-5, 6-3

This second-round blockbuster was on every fan’s mind once the draw was made. Both new mothers, Grand Slam champions and former world No. 1’s, Williams resumed her rivalry with one of her greatest foes in Azarenka on a cool desert night on International Women’s Day.

Friday, March 8, 2019 – Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams embrace after their match in the 2nd round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

The duo delivered. The first set was one of sublime quality, arguably one of the best sets of tennis played on the women’s tour in 2019, with the American legend narrowly edging past the resurgent Belarusian. The second set started off strong for Azarenka, but it was Serena’s intensity – and serve – that made the difference in the end.

4. Rafael Nadal def. Karen Khachanov, QF – 7-6(2), 7-6(2)

Nadal finished his BNP Paribas Open campaign with a win – but it wasn’t in the final. Although he was unable to compete in his semifinal with Roger Federer, the three-time champion left it all on court in his quarterfinal battle with Karen Khachanov of Russia.

It was decided in two tight tiebreak set and was an engrossing physical battle on a sweltering afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. With the sun beating down on Stadium 1, both players endured punishing rallies, with Nadal narrowly edging the No. 12 seed in the important moments.

3. Venus Williams d. Petra Kvitova, R4 – 4-6, 7-5, 6-4

It was vintage Venus in the first true upset of the women’s tournament. The 38-year-old elder Williams sister took down the in-form Petra Kvitova, who had previously reached the final of three of her four tournaments played this season.

The first set was all Kvitova, whose lefty serve and rocket of a forehand was doing damage against a lethargic-looking Venus. But looks can be deceiving. The seven-time Grand Slam champion charged back to claim the second set and summoned some of her best defensive tennis to out-steady Kvitova and earn a hard-fought win. Based on Venus’ reaction after the win, it’s safe to say this one meant a lot to her.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Venus Williams plays Petra Kvitova in the 2nd round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

She’s still got it!

2. Dominic Thiem def. Roger Federer, F – 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

The men’s singles final was a perfect finish to the tournament. Perennial crowd favorite Federer was dominant right out of the gates, taking precious time away from Thiem’s big racquet swings to swiftly seal the first set in just 36 minutes.

However, the Austrian – whose form in the southern California desert was a stark contrast to poor early-season results – wasn’t about to give in. Pummeling the Swiss legend’s backhand with heavy-spun forehands, he fought his way back into the match. At 5-5 in the final set, two drop shot attempts by Federer were expertly picked off by Thiem’s speedy court-coverage and suddenly it was the No. 7 seed serving for the title.

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – Dominic Thiem plays Roger Federer in the Men’s Singles Final of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

…which he did. It was a first Masters 1000 title for the 25-year-old after two previous attempts, and the biggest title won by an Austrian since Thomas Muster won in Miami 22 years ago.

1. Bianca Andreescu def. Angelique Kerber, F – 6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Our top match of the tournament was the last – of the women’s tournament. 18-year-old wild card Andreescu’s run to the final was the story of the tournament, and even more impressive than the run itself was the brand of courageous, attacking tennis that she played to get there.

Not only did the Canadian ooze confidence in her vibrant press conferences, but on the court as well. She let her tennis do the talking against four consecutive Top 20 opponents, including Kerber in a high-octane final that pitted the Andreescu offense verses the Kerber defense. The world No. 60 – who will rise to No. 24 in the rankings on Monday – fought back from the brink of defeat in a high-quality third set, before Kerber saved match points to level proceedings once again. But Andreescu, as she has all season, just wouldn’t be beat.

She broke one last time to claim her first WTA title at the BNP Paribas Open. Not a bad place for your first title, eh?

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – BNP Paribas Open Women’s Singles Champion Bianca Andreescu poses with her trophy at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)
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