In an unexpected finals matchup, Swiss upstart Viktorija Golubic took on American Jennifer Brady for the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells title early Sunday morning. For both players, the match provided an opportunity to notch one of the biggest wins of their career and kick-off a strong start to their 2019 season.
While Brady did everything she could to continue the momentum that led her to her first career WTA finals appearance, she was unable to stop Golubic from eventually capturing the gold in Indian Wells. In a thrilling 3-set final, the Swiss utilized sharp service games and crucial break point conversions to take the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
For Golubic, this week has been nothing short of magical. She showcased incredible poise throughout each of her matches, dominating every opponent that stood in her way. Before today’s final, she breezed through a slew of contenders in Jamie Loeb, Catherine McNally, Sara Sorribes Tormo and tournament No. 1 seed Wang Qiang. She won every single set, including a 7-5, 6-1 thrashing of Qiang. While she may not have been the most well-known player in the field at the start of the week, she has undeniably cemented herself as a rising contender to watch out for the rest of the year, as well as during next week’s 2019 BNP Paribas Open. “This is Tennis Paradise here, that’s for sure” said Golubic, who is clearly excited to continue her time in the desert. She continues her journey in the BNP Paribas Open WTA qualifying draw, which kicks off tomorrow.
While her opponent, American Jennifer Brady, ultimately fell short of her goal, she too had one of the most impressive runs in Indian Wells. She took out four consecutive fellow Americans with straight-set victories over Katie Volynets, Madison Brengle, Alison Riske and Nicole Gibbs. In her semifinal match, she defeated No. 11 seed Zarina Diyas with an overpowering 6-3, 6-3 upset. She arrived in Indian Wells following another notable showing at last week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, where she among others, beat World No. 22 Jelena Ostapenko on her way to the quarterfinals. Brady has elevated her play in 2019 and will look to continue her rise up the rankings throughout the rest of the year. Thankfully for her, her journey in Indian Wells is not yet over. She received a wild card from the BNP Paribas Open, and will enter the tournament’s main draw starting next week.
Having no trouble during her run to the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells final, Golubic faced her first bit of adversity in the opening set. She was unable to locate her serve, as Brady broke her early on her way to 6-3 advantage. “Today I had my toughest opponent of the week” admitted Golubic. In a humorous show of respect to her opponent, Golubic told Brady “you play great tennis, it’s really annoying to play you!” While many may have crumbled facing the pressure of needing to win two consecutive sets, Golubic stayed calm and collected as she regrouped in the second. While it started out looking like more of the same, she strung together two consecutive games at the tail end of the set to outpoint Brady 7-5. In the third and deciding frame, Golubic took over. She hit her stride, returning the favor of the opening set behind powerful forehands that proved too much for Brady to handle. She closed the match with a decisive 6-3 victory in her first ever Oracle Challenger Series appearance and claimed the title of Indian Wells champion.
Congratulations to champion Viktorija Golubic for her incredible week here in Indian Wells!