World No. 12 Flavia Pennetta is expected to return to WTA Indian Wells in 2015 as she attempts to defend her title.
The BNP Paribas Open is the most attended tennis event in the world outside of the four Grand Slams. Held at the state-of-the-art Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the premier tournament initially debuted as a men’s event in 1976, before the women officially joined the competition in 1996.
The tournament was bigger and better than before in 2014 as it showcased a brand new 8,000 seat Stadium 2. It was also the first event to use the Hawkeye replay system on every court, and not just the show courts. 2014 also saw the site unveil four new practice courts to make 20 dedicated practice courts in total, which are often integral to the fan-experience.
32-year-old Flavia Pennetta claimed the biggest WTA title of her career when she won the 2014 edition. Pennetta, of Italy, defeated World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in the final that lasted only one hour and 13 minutes.
"I'm happy. Really happy," said Pennetta after the victory. "I think I need a few days to realize this. Right now I'm too calm, I think. I called my dad, and he couldn't breathe. I told him, 'Papa, breathe!'
"After so many years and so much work and everything, this is the moment I was waiting for. And it comes when you least expect it. In the beginning of the tournament I never expected to be the champion, or even be in the final or semifinal. I was just here trying to play my best tennis,” she continued.
"For me, this is something I was waiting for a long time."
Pennetta was the obvious underdog coming into the clash against Radwanska, but managed to break the second seed twice in the opening stages to claim the first set 6-2 in just 37 minutes.
It was much the same story in the second set, as an injured Radwanska was never able to work her way into the match. The Pole won only one service game in the second set before Pennetta raced away to win the next five games in a row and ultimately obtain the championship.
Radwanska, who was treated during the match for a knee injury and was clearly far from her best, talked about her injury in her post-match presser: “It actually happened a few days ago, but I didn't expect it was going to be much worse today," Radwanska said.
"I really tried everything I could to push myself and play 100% today, because this is the final, but unfortunately I was in too much pain. It's just the worst thing for a player to not be able to give 100% in the final of a big event,” she continued.
"It was still a good two weeks for me. My first final here, a big event, and still a good result.”
The World No. 3 made 18 unforced errors in the first set alone and won only 45 total points compared to Pennetta who won 65. The victory marked Pennetta’s 10th career title.
The Italian joined the list of former champions which also includes WTA legends Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, and more recently 21st century superstars Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.
Tournament Director Steve Simon now looks ahead to the 27th edition to be played in 2015, as he hopes for another successful year in Indian Wells.
The WTA Indian Wells will take place between 9 March – 16 March 2015.