WTA Tour wrap: Badosa stuns erratic Sabalenka as seeds begin to fall

SPANIARD Paula Badosa has had to go the full distance to finally put away an erratic Aryna Sabalenka to advance through to the Round of 16 at the Western and Southern Open. In what was a contrast of two styles, the full throttle Sabalenka slammed home 41 winners to 20, and hit nine aces, but her inconsistency with accuracy hurt, also totalling 54 unforced errors and 12 double faults in Badosa’s 4-6 6-4 7-6 come-from-behind win.

The Spaniard had to fight back from a set down, and then a break down in the third to force a tiebreaker and post an eventual win 11-9 in an epic three-set contest. Saving five match points in that tiebreaker, Badosa backed up her win over Petra Martic in the first round, with a memorable second round upset over Sabalenka. The Spaniard said what she enjoyed most was the fan support.

“I think with fans, I played even better,” Badosa said post-match. “I wasn’t expecting [success like this] at the beginning of the year. I knew I was working hard, but everything is coming very fast. I think it’s a little bit of self confidence and believing in myself and trusting every ball, like I did today.

“Aryna is an amazing player. I used to see her on TV, so at the beginning, it was a little bit surprising. She has amazing shots. I knew I had to fight until the last moment, and that’s what I did.”

In another major upset, Tunisian Ons Jabeur‘s form continued, defeating 2020 Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek in straight sets. It backed up her Wimbledon win over the sixth seed Pole, this time only needing 78 minutes to win, 6-3 6-3. It came after the pair had engaged in a couple of long three-setters, and Jabeur’s style is known to be conducive to longer contests.

“That was surprising, me getting it done in straight sets!” Jabeur said post-match. “Honestly, I was really ready for this match for a long time. I finished late yesterday and playing late today, I was ready. I didn’t make the same mistakes I made at Wimbledon and closed out the first set.

“She’s a great player. She has tricky shots. She doesn’t give you the same rhythm and always changed it up. It wasn’t easy to play her, so me being aggressive today and putting a lot of pressure on her serve helped me a lot.”

Not so much as an upset as it was the old toppling the new, former Top 10 player Angelique Kerber won against fourth seed Elina Monfils to tumble out the Ukrainian from the second straight tournament. Monfils’ form since her Bronze Medal at the Olympics has been a little shaky, and Kerber pounced in a three-set win, 7-5 2-6 6-2. The German was joined Czech Karolina Muchova and Kazakh Elena Rybakina as two unseeded players to complete matches and take down seeds. Muchova knocked over Canadian Bianca Andreescu 6-4 6-2, while Rybakina won 6-3 6-2 over 15th seed Elise Mertens.

In other results, American Jessica Pegula achieved a walkover after Simona Halep retired prior to the match, while Latvian Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the third round after her opponent Jennifer Brady retired towards the end of the second set when Brady was a set up, but 4-5 down in the second. Switzerland had a good day out on court too, with Belinda Bencic and Jil Teichmann knocking over a couple of home nation competitors in Shelby Rogers and Bernarda Pera in straight sets.

Elsewhere, the top two seeds in Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka had to fight hard for a Round of 16 spot, with the Australian top seed winning 6-4 7-6 against Brit Heather Watson, and Osaka’s return after a couple of months off yielding a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over the player that knocked her out of the 2020 Australian Open as reigning champion, Coco Gauff. Czech seeded trio, Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Krejicikova and Petra Kvitova all advanced to the third round, as did eighth seed Garbine Muguruza and 14th seed Victoria Azarenka.


[1] Ash Barty (AUS) defeated Heather Watson (GBR) 6-4 7-6
[2] Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Paula Badosa (ESP) defeated [3] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 5-7 6-2 7-6
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated [4] Elina Monfils (UKR) 7-5 2-6 6-4
[5] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-3 6-2
Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated [6] Iga Swiatek (POL) 6-3 6-3
Karolina Muchova (CZE) defeated [7] Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 6-4 6-2
[8] Garbine Muguruza (ESP) defeated Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-4 6-3
[9] Barbora Krejicikova (CZE) defeated Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 6-1 7-6
[10] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA) 7-6 6-1
[11] Petra Kvitova (CZE) defeated Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-2 6-4
Jessica Pegula (USA) defeated [12] Simona Halep (ROU) W/O
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) defeated [13] Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-7 5-4 RET
[14] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) defeated Alison Riske (USA) 6-2 7-5
Elena Rybakina (KAZ) defeated [15] Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-3 6-2
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated Bernarda Pera (USA) 6-1 6-4

Picture credit: WTA Tour

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