Paula Badosa catapults herself into position to qualify for maiden WTA Finals
Paula Badosa has thrust herself into the midst of qualifying for the WTA event after winning the Indian Wells title.
The Spanish star overcame two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 7-6 (7-2) to capture a maiden WTA 1000 title.
This title is just the second of Badosa’s career, having clinched her first in May 2021 at the Serbia Open.
Moreover, the triumph means that the 23-year-old has leapt 11 places in the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals, from 19th to eighth. With 3112 points in the race, Badosa currently sits in the final qualification spot, leading Ons Jabeur by 92 points.
With pandemic restrictions still not allowing for the tournament to be held at its normal venue of Shenzhen, China, the WTA Finals will take place this year in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“I wasn’t even thinking about [the possibility of qualifying] at the beginning of the week,” Badosa admitted in her post-final press conference.
“I think I started thinking about that maybe when I was in the quarter-finals or something like that…But, at the beginning [of the tournament] it was impossible for me to start thinking like that.
“When I saw the draw it was a really tough one. So, yeah, it was tough for me to think that I could win this tournament.”
Badosa entered the tournament seeded 21st. She consecutively overcame four players seeded above her in Coco Gauff (15th), Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova (3rd), three-time Slam champion Angelique Kerber (10th) and Ons Jabeur (12th) to reach the final.
She then defeated two-time Slam champion and 10-time WTA 1000 champion Azarenka for the title. Badosa had never previously been beyond the second round at WTA 1000 level.
Furthermore, she began 2021 ranked 70th in the world. Following Indian Wells, she sees herself rise 14 spaces from world number 27 to 13th.
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