Badosa spoils Halep return

SPANISH former world number two Paula Badosa played the role of party pooper against former world number one Simona Halep, with the latter returning to the WTA Tour for the first time in 18 months at the Miami Open. Despite Halep completely dominating the first set, Badosa worked her way back into the contest, and with the Romanian getting medical attention for her shoulder, came back to win, 1-6 6-4 6-3.

There was no easing back into the Tour for wildcard Halep who returned after her doping ban was shortened from four years to nine months. Earlier this month, the Romanian was deemed not guilty of intentionally doping, and was able to return to professional tennis only penalised with time served out of Tour.

As former world number ones can have unlimited wildcards to tournaments, it is not surprising Halep jumped straight in the deep end at the WTA 1000 event, and though she looked good for a set, could not sustain it over three. In the end, Badosa got up in just under two hours with both players serving five aces, but also combining or 16 double faults.

Badosa’s first serve percentage of 78 was very impressive and the difference in the match, with four breaks of serve going each way, but the Spaniard able to capitalise on 69 per cent of Halep’s second serve points.

The Spanish talent has had her own issues over the last 12 months with injuries plaguing her form, slipping down to 80th in the world. It was still high enough for her to automatically qualify, and with the win moves into the second round to face world number two and close friend, Aryna Sabalenka.

All eyes are on Sabalenka this tournament with the WTA Tour throwing their support around the Belarusian following the death of her boyfriend and former professional hockey player, Konstantin Koltsov in Miami. The second seed said she would continue to play through the tournament, but would not – understandably – do any media at the tournament.

In other results, Czech young gun Brenda Fruhvirtova and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki both advanced through to the second round with wins as wildcards, as did talented Dane Clara Tauson. Australian Daria Saville got past China’s Shuai Zhang to ensure an Aussie in the next round, while rising 19-year-old Russian Diana Shnaider defeated Venus Williams who incredibly won this event 26 years ago.


Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [WC] Simona Halep (ROU) 1-6 6-4 6-3
[WC] Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE) defeated [Q] Maria Carle (ARG) 6-3 6-3
Diane Parry (FRA) defeated Jaqueline Cristian (ROU) 7-6 6-2
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated Cristina Bucsa (ESP) 6-2 3-6 6-4
Daria Saville (AUS) defeated Shuai Zhang (CHN) 6-4 2-6 6-4
Diana Shnaider (RUS) defeated [WC] Venus Williams (USA) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Laura Siegemund (GER) defeated [Q] Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) 4-6 6-2 6-2
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) defeated Ana Bogdan (ROU) 6-2 6-4
Peyton Stearns (USA) defeated Yafan Wang (CHN) 6-2 6-3
[Q] Clara Tauson (DEN) defeated Caroline Dolehide (USA) 6-3 3-6 6-2
[Q] Taylor Townsend (USA) defeated Lucia Bronzetti (ITA) 3-6 6-3 6-4
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) defeated Magda Linette (POL) 2-6 6-1 6-4
Xiyu Wang (CHN) defeated [Q] Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-1 6-3
Xinyu Wang (CHN) defeated [WC] Hayley Baptiste (USA) 7-6 6-3
[WC] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) defeated Clara Burel (FRA) 6-1 6-4
Yue Yuan (CHN) defeated Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-4 6-4

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