Badosa improves to 2-0 at WTA Finals with straight-set defeat of Sakkari
Paula Badosa battles past Maria Sakkari in straight sets on Saturday for her second win at the 2021 WTA Finals. Badosa leads her round-robin group at 2-0, while Sakkari is in second place with a 1-1 record.
- What happened: Paul Badosa defeated Maria Sakkari in straight sets to stay perfect at the WTA Finals.
- Why it matters: Badosa is 2-0 overall and 4-0 in total sets, which has her closing in on a semi-final spot.
- You will also learn: The Spaniard’s current eight-match winning streak includes a title in Indian Wells.
A late-season surge by Paula Badosa has her on the brink of semi-final qualification at the WTA Finals.
Badosa has actually been in great form all year long, but she has been especially red-hot of late. The Spaniard’s fall swing is highlighted by a surprise triumph at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and she has now extended her winning streak to eight matches with a pair of victories in Guadalajara. Following a 6-4, 6-0 rout of Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday, Badosa beat Maria Sakkari 7-6(4), 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.
The 23-year-old has not yet clinched a semi-final spot, but she could do so later on Saturday depending on the result of the Sabalenka vs. Iga Swiatek match. Regardless, Badosa is in great shape to advance.
Badosa survives up-and-down first set
Badosa was the first to strike, as she earned a break at love for a 4-2 advantage in the opening set. The world No 10 consolidated it easily for 5-2, but that is when her opponent started a comeback. Sakkari earned her first break of the day at 3-5 and eventually forced a tiebreaker. In the ‘breaker, though, Badosa surged to leads of 4-0 and 5-1 before converting her second set point at 6-4.
Sakkari struggles to sustain success
Sakkari also did well to come back from a break down in the second, but she struggled to maintain any momentum throughout the match. Whenever the Greek seemed to be mounting a charge, Badosa would steady the ship. Sakkari recovered from a 4-2 deficit to reach 4-4, but with the pressure on the fourth seed dropped serve in routine fashion at 4-4.
That gave Badosa a chance to serve for the match at 5-4. It wasn’t easy, as she needed three match points while also saving one break point. Badosa finally clinched victory with serve-and-backhand one-two punch.
“I think I stayed aggressive,” Badosa assessed. “I was moving well. When you win these kind of matches, I think you have to do a little bit of everything well. I think the key was a little bit in the important moments, I was quite brave and I played very good.”
Chichen-Itza Group Standings
Badosa is now 2-0 in round-robin play, followed by Sakkari at 1-1. Sabalenka and Swiatek are both 0-1 heading into Saturday’s nightcap. Anything other than a straight-set win for Swiatek will officially send Badosa through to the semi-finals before she even takes the court on Monday.
- Badosa, 2-0 (4 sets won, 0 sets lost)
- Sakkari, 1-1 (2 sets won, 2 sets lost)
- Sabalenka, 0-1 (0 sets won, 2 sets lost)
- Swiatek, 0-1 (0 sets won, 2 sets lost)