WTA Finals: In-form Badosa reaches semis; Sabalenka beats Swiatek
Spaniard Paula Badosa claimed her second successive win at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. With this victory, the number seven seed has kept her 100% record in Chichen Itza round-robin group. Fourth seed Sakkari, who had won her previous match, lost 6-7, 4-6. Meanwhile, world number two Aryna Sabalenka fought back from behind to beat Iga Swiatek in three sets.
Why does this story matter?
Form and confidence play a role in helping players seal the crucial moments. After Anett Kontaveit progressed to the semis with her 12th straight win, Badosa too moved forward. This was a spirited performance against a tricky opponent like Sakkari, who had earlier won her opening match. Meanwhile, Sabalenka showed character to keep her hopes alive. She produced the goods in a tight encounter.
Eight straight wins for Badosa
This was the first meeting between Badosa and Sakkari. Badosa won in two hours and four minutes to extended her current winning streak to eight straight victories. As per WTA, by virtue of Sabalenka winning a set against Swiatek, Spaniard Badosa had advanced to the semi-finals in her WTA Finals debut. Badosa had recently won the WTA 1000 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Sixth Top 10 win of the year
Badosa now has a 20-8 win-loss record against higher-ranked opponents this season. The win over Sakkari is her sixth over a Top 10 player. Notably, all of these wins have come this year, including a win against Sabalenka in her first match of the event.
The stats that matter
Badosa converted just three of her 12 break points, but the Spaniard dropped serve just twice. Meanwhile, Sakkari registered 25 winners to Badosa's 23 in the match. But Badosa made just 22 unforced errors, while Sakkari was undone by a staggering 49 unforced errors.
Badosa on her performance against Sakkari
Badosa opened up on her performance against Sakkari. "I think it was quite a tough match," Badosa said after her match. "I served well, I fight for every point. I knew it was going to be a battle against Maria. "I think I stayed aggressive. I was moving well." She also said the key was a little bit in the important moments.
Sabalenka comes back to beat Swiatek
Top seed Sabalenka kept her hopes alive to qualify for the semis. She mounted an inspired comeback to defeat Polish international Swiatek 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. Sabalenka now has a 1-1 record after losing her opening tie. Swiatek has been eliminated with this loss, having a 0-2 record. Notably, this was also the first meeting between Sabalenka and Swiatek.