Tennis-Azarenka proud of fight in comeback win over Ostapenko

FILE PHOTO: Oct 10, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Victoria Azarenka (BLR) hits a shot against Petra Kvitova (CZE) at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Former world number one said she was proud of her fighting spirit in Friday's comeback victory against Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells tournament.

Azarenka, a two-time winner at the California event, fought back from a set and break down to beat 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko 3-6 6-3 7-5.

The 32-year-old will face Spain's Paula Badosa in Sunday's final as she aims to become the first woman to win the Indian Wells title three times after victories in 2012 and 2016.

"I thought the most important (thing) was my fight, that I can be really proud of," twice Grand Slam winner Azarenka told reporters. "Analysing the game, it was a lot of things that I could have maybe done a little bit better.

"Overall, she (Ostapenko) was playing incredible in the first set... I was just trying to find opportunity, create opportunity, for me to get back into the match, to take a little bit more control in the match, really fight for every ball."

Azarenka, who is searching for her first title of the season, said that she had endured a "tricky" campaign this year.

"There were parts where I physically couldn't necessarily bring that extra level, extra fight, which was very frustrating," the Belarusian said.

"I feel like right now I'm a bit more settled with a bit more structure, a little bit more discipline, which makes it not necessarily easier but a bit clearer what I need to do."

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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