Garbine Muguruza Defeats Paula Badosa to Reach First-Ever WTA Finals Title Match

It’s a special first for Garbine Muguruza

The 28-year-old Spanish professional tennis player dominated compatriot Paula Badosa in a 6-3, 6-3 victory on Tuesday and will now play for the WTA Finals title for the first time in her career.

Garbine MuguruzaThe sixth-seeded Muguruza, who lost in the semifinals in 2015, is the first Spaniard to reach the singles final since 1993, when Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was runner-up to Steffi Graff.

“I’m very happy with my performance, it was the best match I played here in Guadalajara,” Muguruza said. “It’s the first time we encountered each other. I’m very proud of Paula, she started the year back in the rankings and made all the way to the top 10.”

Muguruza now has a 13-2 record on Mexican soil, where she won back-to-back titles in Monterrey in 2018 and ’19.

Muguruza awaits the winner of eighth-seeded Anett Kontaveit and fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who play the other semifinal match later at the Centro Panamericano de Tenis in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara.

Muguruza started the season-ending tournament with a loss to third-seeded Karolina Pliskova but bounced back with victories over second-seeded Barbora Krejcikova, Kontaveit and Badosa.

“I don’t feel like a favorite, maybe on paper or for the TV, but I don’t feel like it,” she said. “I started here losing and I thought that I could be eliminated, so for me to say that I feel like a favorite for the final is complicated.”

Muguruza reached 41 victories this season, her most in a single campaign since 2017 when she finished with 45.

Muguruza broke the seventh-seeded Badosa in the third game and then held to win the first set in 35 minutes.

In the second set, Muguruza had a break in the second game, saved a couple of break points in the third and never looked back.

Badosa, who turned 24 on Monday, was the youngest player in the semifinals. The Spaniard finished a breakthrough season that saw her crack the top 10 for the first time in her career.

“It was a tough day, I did not feel myself and she played good, all the credits go to her,” said Badosa, who earlier in the tournament said that Muguruza was her inspiration. “I don’t really know what happened today. I’m sad that I could not compete.”

The WTA Finals are being played in Guadalajara for this year only, with the event scheduled to return in 2022 to Shenzhen, China.

Paula Badosa Advances to Semifinals at the WTA Finals

Paula Badosa is on to the next round…

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player has extended her winning streak to eight matches on Saturday with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over Maria Sakkari to qualify for the semifinals at the WTA Finals.

Paula BadosaAfter edging Sakkari, Badosa had to wait for the result of the late match between Iga Swiatek and top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who prevailed 2-6, 6-2, 7-5, to see if she advanced to the semifinals as the top player in her group.

“It was quite a tough match. I served well. I fought for every point. I knew was going to be a battle against Maria,” said Badosa. “I think I stayed aggressive. I was moving well. When you win these kind of matches you have to do a little bit of everything well.”

The WTA Finals, canceled last year because of the pandemic, are played in a round-robin format with the top two players from each group of four moving on to the semifinals.

The semifinals will be played on Tuesday and the final is set for Wednesday at the Centro Panamericano de Tenis in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico.

Badosa, ranked No. 63 a year ago, is having a breakthrough season. She won the first two titles of her career in 2021 (Belgrade and Indian Wells) and is among the six players to have made their top-10 debut this season.

“To be honest, I’m quite new. I was 70, 80 in the world at the beginning of the year. I think I got my first top-10 win maybe four months ago, and I needed experience,” Badosa said. “When I got that experience, all of that things, it went well. I think I’m quite competitive. I think I needed a little bit to adjust myself, to be here and play these kind of matches, to learn.”

Swiatek, Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit and Barbora Krejcikova, all of them playing at this tournament, are the others along with Ons Jabeur, who narrowly missed out on a place in Guadalajara.

“I think it was a very high-level match from both of us. Even though I lost, that gives me a lot of confidence for my last match in the round-robin,” said Sakkari, who remains in contention. “I haven’t seen any combinations or anything. I know that I’ll give myself a better chance if I win the next match. I’m just going to focus on that. Anything else, it’s just irrelevant at the moment.”

Sakkari will play Sabalenka on Monday for the last remaining semifinal berth. Kontaveit has already secured a semifinal place in the other group.

Sabalenka, who won titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid this season, is the first seed in Mexico because world No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty of Australia decided not to defend her WTA Finals title due to continuing COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions. Barty had to undergo two weeks of quarantine when she returned to her Brisbane home in September after the U.S. Open and did not want to do the same again traveling to Mexico.

The WTA Finals are being played in Guadalajara for this year only, with the event scheduled to return in 2022 to Shenzhen, China.