Defending Champion Paula Badosa Opens Up About Personal Struggles Following Indian Wells Win - UBITENNIS
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Defending Champion Paula Badosa Opens Up About Personal Struggles Following Indian Wells Win

How setting one specific goal has helped the Spaniard rise to the top of the women’s game.

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Paula Badosa’s love affair with the BNP Paribas Open is showing no signs of ending after she secured her ninth consecutive win at the tournament on Tuesday evening.

 

Badosa, who is seeded fifth in this year’s draw, surged past US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-4, in what was their first Tour meeting since 2020. The Spaniard hit a total of 23 winners and won 67% of her service points. She broke twice in the first set and once in the second to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

I think I’m playing every day better and better. I’m feeling my tennis is getting higher, the level. I’m very happy about today and the win,” Badosa told reporters afterwards.

It was Indian Wells where the 24-year-old won the first title of her career less than 12 months ago. In 2021 the tournament was postponed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic which paved the way for Badosa to enjoy a fairytale run. She produced five consecutive wins over seeded players, including former Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka.

Badosa’s journey on the Tour has been far from easy. A former teenage prodigy after winning the French Open girls’ title in 2015 she initially found it tough transitioning to the pro Tour. It wasn’t until four years later when she broke into the top 100 for the first time and incredibly it was only last year when she cracked the top 50.

“It was not because I didn’t want to win or I didn’t want to fight. I wanted to, but I was so frustrated that I couldn’t control my emotions,” she said of her past difficulties on the Tour.
“I was getting very negative very soon. That is what was making me not fight.”

After her frustrations, Badosa set herself a personal goal of fighting during every match which has seemed to work wonders for her in recent months. She is currently ranked seventh in the world which is three spots before her career best. In January she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

I was very bad mentally. I wasn’t a fighter,” she admits. “Maybe two years ago I was struggling a lot. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was two and a half years ago I was top hundred, so it was very fast.”
“Since then I have changed a little bit. It was like a goal for me personally and a challenge that I did myself, to fight every point no matter what, no matter my feelings in the match. I’m very happy because I think I’m doing it every match, or that’s what I try.”

Now seeking to become the first woman in history to win back-to-back Indian Wells titles, Badosa will next take on Veronika Kudermetova who defeated Naomi Osaka in the second round. It will be a far from easy task for the defending champion who has lost to the Russian in all three of their previous meetings, including two last year.

Badosa is the sercond highest ranked player remaining in the draw after Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

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Hamad Medjedovic wins the Next Gen Finals title in Jeddah

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Hamad Medjedovic came back from one set down to beat Arthur Fils 3-4 (6-8) 4-1 4-2 3-4 (9-11) 4-1 after 2 hours and 11 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. 

 

Medjedovic hit 38 winners to 21 unforced errors. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medjedovic earned a mini-break to take a 3-2 lead and held two set points at 6-4, but he was not able to convert them. Fils won four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game to win the second set 4-1. 

Medjedovic becomes the sixth Next Gen ATP Finals champion, joining top 10 players Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old Serbian player is the lowest-ranked champion in tournament history. 

Medjedovic started the third set with an early break in the first game. The Serbian player held on his serve to seal the set 4-2. 

Medjedovic recovered from squandering two match points at 6-4 in a thrilling tie-break of the fourth set at 5-6 and 7-8. Fils saved both chances on second serves and won four of the next five points to win the tie-break 11-9 forcing the match to a deciding set. 

to win the first five-set final in tournament history. The Serbian player won 88% and converted his third match point to clinch the biggest title of his career so far. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game of the fifth set. Fils earned himself a penalty point for a smash of his raquet and went down 0-3. Medjedovic held on his next service games and converted his third match point. 

“Two of us from Serbia. Djokovic won the big Masters, the real one, and I won the Next Gen. Obviously it’s a huge thing and I am happy to follow in his footsteps in some way. I can’t believe I have won this title. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024. Arthur is an amazing player. He is top 40 for a reason”, said Medjedovic. 

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Elena Rybakina headlines a strong line-up in Adelaide

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Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Carolina Garcia and Angelique Kerber will highlight the Adelaide International, a WTA 500 tournament.

 

Rybakina reached the final at the Adelaide International on her tournament debut in 2022, losing to now retired Ashleigh Barty. Rybakina went on to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon later last year. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open final in 2023. 

Zheng won her first WTA 500 title in Zhengzhou and reached the final in Zhuhai, ending the 2023 season at a career-high of world number 15. 

Angelique Kerber will make her come-back to the WTA Tour at the United Cup before playing her first WTA draw in Adelaide. Kerber gave birth to her daughter Liana last February. The German player won titles at the 2016 Australian Open and in Sydney 2018 and reached in Sydney 2014 and in Brisbane 2018. 

Kerber is one of the three former number 1 players, who are making her come-back on the WTA Tour after giving birth to their children. 

Caroline Wozniacki lost to eventual champion Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 at the US Open in her third tournament back. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is planning to make her return next January after giving back to her child Shai last July. 

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play. So I think some people will be happy with that. I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of player and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I will set myself up for a very good end of the year”, said Osaka.

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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah

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World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 

 

Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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