‘Nothing Is Impossible’ - Paula Badosa Eyes WTA Finals Spot After Clinching Indian Wells Title - UBITENNIS
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‘Nothing Is Impossible’ – Paula Badosa Eyes WTA Finals Spot After Clinching Indian Wells Title

The former teenage tennis prodigy aims to end her season on a high after a fairytale run in the Californian desert.

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Paula Badosa - image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN

Spain’s Paula Badosa outlasted Victoria Azarenka in a marathon encounter to win the biggest title of her career to date at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The world No.13 battled on the court for more than three hours before prevailing 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(2), over the two-time champion. Throughout the rollercoaster final Badosa had to battle back against Azarenka, who at one stage served for the match during the third set. Overall, she saved 10 out of 17 break points faced and won 52% of her service points. Badosa closed out the match by winning five out of the nine points played with outright winners in the final tiebreaker.

“It was a really tough match. I think it was a really good one, as well, because she played at an amazing level. I think I had to rise high level every set. In the final third set I think I played my best. It was the only option if I wanted to win, so I’m really proud of it,” said the new champion.
“It was like a roller coaster mentally, emotionally. It was my first final in a 1000. I had a lot of emotions,” she added.

Badosa has become the first Spanish woman in history to win the Indian Wells title and only the second in history to ever contest a final after Conchita Martinez. Her run to the trophy saw her impressively defeat four top 20 players en route, as well as Azarenka. Earlier in the tournament she defeated Coco Gauff, Barbora Krejčíková, Angelique Kerber and Ons Jabeur.

“The first thing that I’ve learned this week is that nothing is impossible. If you fight, if you work, after all these years, you can achieve anything,” she said.
“Sometimes you have tough moments. In my case I have been through tough moments. I never stopped dreaming. That’s what kept me working hard and believing until the last moment.”

The 23-year-old was widely tipped to be a star of the women’s game at a young age after lifting the French Open girls’ title back in 2015. However, that expectation weighed heavily on her shoulders with transitioning to the pro Tour proving to be a stern challenge. It wasn’t until four years after winning the junior Grand Slam title that she cracked the top 100. Since then, she has been rapidly rising on the Tour.

Badosa is not the first and probably won’t be the last teenage prodigy to be bombarded with high expectations from a young age. Asked to offer advice to others in a similar situation, she stressed the importance of having a support team.

“People think that when you’re a good junior, next year you have to be a top-20 player or top-10 player. You have a lot of expectations. People wait a lot of you, put a lot of pressure on you,” she commented.
“I think the key is to have a good team and to work day by day, to not listen a lot, and to make it simple. Sometimes we complicate things.”

Now with the Indian Wells title under her belt, Badosa has a serious shot of being able to qualify for next month’s WTA Finals in Mexico which will only feature the eight highest-ranked players in the race. She is currently eighth in the race.

“I wasn’t even thinking about that at the beginning of the week,” Badosa said of the season-ending event.
“I think I started thinking about that when I was maybe in the quarterfinals or something like that. I didn’t want to see it, but I start thinking about it. At the beginning it was impossible for me to think about that. When I saw the draw, it was a really tough one. It was tough for me to think I could win this tournament.”

Indian Wells is only the second WTA title Badosa has won in her career after the Serbian Open back in May. She will rise to a ranking high of 13th on Monday.

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Hubert Hurkacz beats Alexander Zverev to reach the second final of his career in Halle

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Hubert Hurkacz moved past this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in 1 hour and 33 minutes to reach the second final of his career at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Hurkacz will be aiming to win the second title of his career at this tournament two years after his triumph. 

Hurkacz fired 17 aces and saved all four break points he faced in the first game of the opening set to clinch his fifth top 10 win on grass. The Pole won 81% of his first serve points. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. Hurkacz his only break in the third game of the second set to win the second set 6-4. 

“I really love grass. The game suits my game and the atmosphere here, having the full crowd is incredible. It brings so much joy to the players”, said Hurkacz. 

Hurkacz improved to 1-3 in his head-to-head matches against Zverev. The Polish player will aim to clinch the ninth ATP Tour title of his career in his 11th ATP Tour final. 

Hurkacz won the Halle tournament in 2022 and reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2021. 

Zverev holds a record of 37 wins to 11 defeats this season. 

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Jannik Sinner beats Jan Lennard Struff to reach the semifinal in Halle

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Jannik Sinner battled past Jan Lennard Struff 6-2 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) to reach his second tour-leve semifinal on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Struff hit 18 aces and saved 16 of the 18 aces he faced, including all 11 in the second and third sets. 

Sinner has scored his third consecutive three-set win at this tournament after beating Tallon Griekspoor and Fabian Maroszan in the first two rounds. 

Sinner broke twice to win the opening set 6-2 in 30 minutes. The Italian player won 67% of his second serve points in the first set. 

Sinner saved a break point in the fourth game of the second set. Struff fended it off with an ace and three more chances two games later as the set headed towards towards a tie-break. 

Struff earned the first mini-break to race out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-break. The German 34-year-old player made a serve and volley at 5-1 to earn a set point. He converted it as Sinner made a backhand error. 

Struff created his first break, when Sinner made two double faults at 2-2 after two hours. 

Sinner earned two break points in the ninth game of the third set, but Struff saved them with his serve and forced Sinner twice to serve to stay in the match. The set was decided by a second tie-break. Struff played his 10th consecutive tie-break in the 2024 season. Earlier this week won a 12-10 final-set tie-break against Luciano Darderi in the opening round before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the next round on 

Sinner opened up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The 2024 Australian Open champions earned four match points in the second tie-break and converted his second chance, as Struff netted a backhand. Sinner won his third head-to-head match against Struff in 2024. 

Earlier at this tournament Sinner came back from a set down to beat Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 before beating Hungary’s Fabian Maroszan 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. 

“It was a very tough match. I had chances in the second set, had chances in the third set, but I could not use them. It was 0-40 in the third set. I jus try to accept these kind of challenges. It has been very tough, also mentally. I am very pleased to be in the next round. I played a lot today, I played a lot yesterday, two and a half hours on grass. It’s a long time”, said Sinner. 

Alexander Zverev rallied past Arthur Fils 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 30 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. The two-time Halle finalist is aiming to win his first grass title.

Zverev becomes the first player since Roger Federer to reach back-to-back semifinals in Halle. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Fils earned his first mini-break to take a 2-0 lead in the tie-break. Zverev pulled back on serve, but Fils got a second mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Zverev raised his level in the second set breaking Fils at 3-2 with a streak of eight winning consecutive points.  

Zverev sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the seventh game winning 83% of his first serve points. Fils saved two match points in the ninth game, as he was serving to stay in the match. Zverev served out the win at love in the 10th game. The German player was not broken in the entire match. 

Zverev now leads 2-0 in his two head-to-head matches against Fils. 

Zverev lost to Carlos Alcaraz in five sets in the final of Roland Garros. 

“After the French Open, I was hoping on grass I would a lot quicker and not play for two and a half, three hours every single match, but I am continuing what I always do”, said Zverev. 

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Coco Gauff beats Ekaterina Alexandrova to reach the quarter final in Berlin

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Coco Gauff saved three set points in the first set to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 after 1 hour and 20 minutes in the ecotrans Ladies Open in Berlin. 

Alexandrova came back from 2-4 down in the first set to force a tie-break. Alexandrova went up a 6-3 lead in the tie-break as Gauff made her first double fault of the opening set. Gauff saved the three set points after a double fault, a backhand wide and a missed backhand return from Alexandrova. Gauff sealed the first set after Alexandrova made another double fault. 

Gauff dropped just four points on serve in the second set and broke twice, first at love at 1-1 and then at 15 in the seventh game. 

Pegula holds a 2-1 lead against Siniakova, but the Czech player won their only previous head-to-head match 6-3 5-7 6-4 on grass in Bad Homburg in 2021. 

Gauff avenged her defeat against Alexandrova, who beat her US rival 6-4 6-0 in the Round of 16 in Berlin in 2023.

Gauff, who lost to Ons Jabeur in the semifinal in Berlin in 2022, advanced the quarter final of this tournament for the second time in her career. Gauff will renew her rivalry against Jabeur in the semifinal at this year’s edition of the German grass tournament. Jabeur beat Linda Noskova 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4. 

“When you are down in those points in tie-breaks, I just tell myself just to get one, and then one point turns into two. I was just hoping she would not ace me on one of those points. I was just hoping I could get a ball in the court”, said Gauff.  

Gauff was joined in the quarter finals by her doubles partner Jessica Pegula, who beat Donna Vekic 6-4 7-5 to reach her fifth quarter final of the 2024 season. 

Pegula set up a match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat number 6 seed Zheng Qinwen 6-4 6-4 to clinch her 10th win against a top-ten player. Siniakova has reached her fourth quarter final on grass after Birmingham in 2015 and Bad Homburg in 2021 and 2023. Last year she won the Bad Homburg beating Lucia Bronzetti in the final. 

Siniakova earned her first break in the opening game to win the first set 6-4. Zheng broke at love in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Siniakova won four consecutive games to take a 4-2 lead with two breaks. Zheng pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Siniakova broke for the third time at 15 in the ninth game and sealed the win on her first match point. 

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