These ladies ruled the courts at Palm Springs

It goes without saying that when it comes to glamour, the Indian Wells Masters does not fall short of any major tennis tournament. Considered the “5th Grand Slam” in the world, it receives worldwide attention. So, the crowning of two new champions is definitely going to bring a lot of focus on their careers and pave the way for their road to stardom.

Take a look at the newly-crowned tennis queen of California herself in Paola Badosa for instance. Badosa though currently ranked 13 in the world has gone under the radar for quite a while. Infact, till 2019, she could barely make it out of the first round of a Grand Slam tournament. However, she has turned her game around in the last two years, which has seen a peak in her performances. The recent silverware at the Indian Wells Masters is just a culmination of her improvement.

The victory that saw her outplaying a former two-time champion in Victoria Azarenka in a 3 hour 4 minute match was nothing short of spectacular. Moreover, It was also the Spaniard’s debut women’s title win. Indeed, an eventful moment in the 23-year-old’s career. On that note, let’s take look at the most decorated players in the history of women’s tennis at the Indian Wells Masters:

8. Mary Joe Fernandez (1993,1995)

Mary Joe Fernandez became a two-time Indian Wells champion in 1995. She beat South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer in the finals to win her first Indian Wells Masters title in 1993. The match with Coetzer went on for three sets. Fernandez dropped the first one, but came back strong in the second. Finally, she wrapped up the decider in a tiebreaker. The final scoreline of the match read 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 in favour of Fernandez.

Fernandez faced fourth seed Belarusian Natasha Zvereva in the final of the tournament in 1995. The American, without wasting any time, took the match in straight sets. Nothing unusual by her standards, as she had only dropped one set in the entire tournament.

7. Steffi Graf (1994, 1996)

Steffi Graf won the title on her debut in the tournament in 1994. The German superstar completely steamrolled her way to the crown that year. She did not drop a single set in the tournament.

Graf was very successful in California (Courtesy-ABC News)

The likes of Gigi Fernandez, Tracy Austin, Ginger Helgeson fell to her powerful gameplay. In the final, she played against sixth seed Amanda Coetzer, who also suffered the same fate. The final result was a 6-0, 6-4 victory for the German. Graf again returned to action at the California courts in 1996 after missing out the year before.

Playing with the same intensity, she reclaimed the title after defeating Spain’s Conchita Martinez 7-6, 7-6 in the final of the tournament.

6. Daniela Hantuchova ( 2002, 2007)

Daniela Hantuchova tasted her first success at the Indian Wells Masters in her second campaign in 2002. The Slovakian went through a list of strong opponents to earn her title. Among them were the likes of Barbara Schett, Justine Henin, Lisa Raymond and Martina Hingis. The 18th seed defied all odds and took the title in some style. She defeated Hingis 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

Five years later, she repeated the same act. The 2007 final saw her going up against second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. But, Daniela was up for the task and thwarted Kuznetsova’s challenge quite easily. The final result was similar to her last title win, as she defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-4 in straight sets.

5. Kim Clijsters ( 2003, 2005)

Clijsters put Belgian tennis on the world map (Courtesy-Tennis World USA)

The years between 2003 and 2005 saw the emergence of Belgian power in women’s tennis. The pair of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin won many titles during that phase. Clijsters put Belgian tennis on the world map after winning the Indian Wells Masters title in 2003.

Having missed out on a title in 2001 after losing out to Serena Williams, the Belgian came into the tournament with full motivation. Clijsters defeated Lindsay Davenport 6-4, 7-5 in the final to win her first title in California.

She did even better in the 2005 edition. Clijsters stole the crown off Davenport’s grasp yet again. The first seed Davenport put up a fight this time, but to no avail. The final match ended 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in favour of the Belgian.

4. Serena Williams (1999, 2001)

Coming into the Indian Wells Masters as an unseeded player, Serena Williams won her first title in 1999. She defeated the likes of second seed Davenport, sixth seed Mary Pierce and 12th seed Sandrine Testud on her way to the title. Serena was up against Steffi Graf in the final and beat her 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to win.

The American made it to the quarter-final of the tournament the following year. However, it was a year later in 2001 that she tasted success again. She faced Kim Clijsters in the decider and despite losing the first set, Serena bounced back to win the next two. The match concluded 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in favour of the American. She did not return to play the tournament for the next 14 years, as the Williams sisters had officially boycotted the event.

3. Victoria Azarenka ( 2012, 2016)

The Belarusian reached the final of the tournament in 2021 (Courtesy- Tennis World USA)

Victoria Azarenka’s name will probably be the most fresh in everyone’s mind. The Belarusian was on the verge of becoming a record three-time Indian Wells Masters champion a few days ago. However, it was not Azarenka’s day, as Paula Badosa won the final 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 to claim the title.

Azarenka won her first title in California in 2012. She dominated the entire tournament. Except for dropping one set in the second round, she went through the rest with ease. The final saw a battle between Azarenka and Russia’s Maria Sharapova. Azarenka controlled the match from the start and won it 6-2, 6-3 to take the title.

The Belarusian won her second title in 2016. She played Serena in the final and defeated her in straight sets. Williams had not dropped a set in the tournament till she played in the final against Azarenka. The Belarusian clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline.

2. Martina Navratilova (1990, 1991)

Martina Navratilova became the first female player to win two consecutive titles at the Indian Wells Masters. She won the tournament in 1990 and 1991 respectively. She is the leading consecutive match-winner in the tournament in the women’s singles category. Her record of 10 wins still stands.

Her first appearance at the tournament in 1990 saw her defeating Helena Sukova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 in the final. The following year also produced the same result. Martina did not drop a single set to win her second consecutive crown. She beat Monica Seles 6-2, 7-6 in the final.

1. Lindsay Davenport (1997, 2000)

Lindsay Davenport has probably had the most torrid affair with the tournament. She is not only a two-time winner but also a six-time finalist. The American is a record three-time consecutive finalist from 2003 to 2005.

Her first title in California came in 1997 when she defeated sixth seed Irina Spirlea in straight sets 6-2,6-1 in the final. She went onto win her second title in 2000. Davenport was up against Martina Hingis in the final and the Swiss won the first set. However, it was the American who won the next two to win the match 4-6,6-4, 6-0.

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