World number 27 Paula Badosa is through to her first WTA 1000 final after beating Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-3 to secure her 40th win of the season at Indian Wells.
Badosa will now face two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the final on Sunday, after the Belarusian beat Jelena Ostapenko in three sets.
The 23-year-old is the first Spaniard to reach the Indian Wells final since Conchita Martinez 25 years ago and will head into that match full of confidence having already beaten two major winners, Barbora Krejcikova and Angelique Kerber, this week.
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Badosa had lost her most recent encounter with Jabeur heading into Friday’s semi-final but settled any nerves that she might have had by breaking in the opening match and then holding serve to go 2-0 up.
Jabeur relied on drop shots to unsettle the Spaniard and a find a route back into the set. However, there was little the Tunisian could do as Badosa – who had broken serve 20 times on her way to semi-finals – won three straight games to take the opener 6-3.
World number 14 Jabeur failed to take two golden opportunities to break Badosa in the second set, in the second game and then again in the eighth. Badosa seemingly had no such problem and took the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead.
The Spaniard had chances to break again in the set, but Jabeur clung on and forced her opponent to serve for the match and a place in the final, which Badosa did.
"Mentally I think I'm very confident," Badosa said. "I'm believing every point. Every day I'm working very hard as well.
"I think I'm progressing on a little bit of everything and that's what is making my level going up. That's why I'm in a final and playing against the best of the world."
Jabeur can take some consolation from the fact that her performance in Indian Wells should be good enough to ensure she becomes the first Arab player in history to be ranked in the ATP or WTA top 10 on Monday.
"Today I feel like I did something different than other days," Jabeur said. "I was really fighting hard even though I knew I wasn't playing very well.
"I just tried. I tried to think. I tried to do whatever in my power. Honestly I don't regret much because today she was a much better player."
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