Paula Badosa Advances to First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal at the French Open

It’s a personal Grand Slam best as a pro for Paula Badosa

Six years after winning the French Open as a junior, the 23-year-old Spanish tennis player outlasted Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 at Roland Garros on Sunday to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Paula Badosa,

“I’ve always liked dreaming big,” said Badosa after her win.

Badosa fell into a seeded position, at No.33, at Roland Garros when Alison Riske withdrew from the draw, but anyone who has followed the tour from week-to-week would have circled her name regardless.

Back on her favorite surface, Badosa came into Paris with the highest clay winning percentage on tour, at 86.7% (13-2). Her four wins and Paris brings that tally to 89.4%.

Badosa had been building a steady head of steam all season. She took her momentum from 2020 Roland Garros, where she notched just her second and third Top 50 wins, over Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko, to make her first Slam Round of 16.

Badosa then went on a string of notable semifinal runs.

  • In Lyon, her first of the season.
  • In Charleston, her first at the WTA 500 level, with a first win against a Top 20 player (Belinda Bencic) and first over a reigning No.1 (Ashleigh Barty).
  • In Madrid, her first at the WTA 1000 level.

And to add one more career milestone to the list, in Belgrade, where she captured her first WTA title.

As a result, Badosa rose from No.71 at the start of the clay season to No. 35 ahead of the French Open.

Badosa will next face Tamara Zidansek for a spot in the final four.

Paula Badosa Wins First Career WTA Title at Serbia Open

Paula Badosa has claimed her first WTA title…

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player, who has been an absolute beast on clay this year, battled through double duty on Saturday at the Serbia Open to claim the trophy.

Paula Badosa

Badosa, who improves to 13-2 on clay during the season, defeated Viktoriya Tomova, 6-1, 6-2, before claiming the title with a win over Ana Konjuh when the Croatian qualifier ended the match due to a hip injury while trailing 6-2, 2-0 RET.

“Today wasn’t an easy day, not even in the morning,” Badosa said. “In the afternoon, I think I played an amazing first set, I think I played at a very good level. Ana’s an amazing player, I’m so sorry for her we have to finish like this, but the part that I was playing, I think it was quite good so I’m happy with the level.”

Badosa will rise to a career-high ranking, projected at 34, which might be good enough for a seeding at Roland Garros. Last year in Paris, Badosa reached the round of 16 on the terre battue, and she has gone 19-4 on clay since the start of 2020.

Konjuh can be thankful her problems had nothing to do with the elbow injury that kept her off tour for a year and a half. She hopes to recover in time to take a shot at the French Open. She reached her first final since 2017 Auckland and will see her ranking rise to inside the Top 150 next week (for the first time since 2018).

“Yesterday in the match I kind of pulled my hip flexor,” said Konjuh, who qualified for the main draw, and defeated Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, 7-6(6), 7-6(4) in her first of two matches on Saturday. “I’ve been trying to get it right but this match this morning didn’t really help—it’s been a hell of a fight. I just could not continue and I didn’t want to risk Paris, playing in a few days, and hopefully I can get ready for it.”

https://twitter.com/paulabadosa/status/1396158666923970568?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1396158666923970568%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tennisnow.com%2FNews%2F2021%2FMay%2FBadosa-Claims-Maiden-ATP-Title-at-Belgrade.aspx

 

Paula Badosa Defeats Viktoriya Tomova at Belgrade Open to Reach First-Ever WTA Final

Paula Badosa is thisclose to her first WTA title…

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player beat Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova in the semifinals 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and two minutes at the Belgrade Open on Friday.

Paula Badosa

Badosa started the game like a cyclone. She gave her rival no choice. Two service breaks to her rival gave her a sufficient advantage to put the first set on track and take it by a resounding 6-1 in 27 minutes.

Badosa will next play Croatia’s Ana Konjuh, who beat Colombia’s Mara Camila Osorio, in the final.

Badosa and Konjuh met in the first qualifying round of the Madrid Open in 2015, with the Spaniard winning 6-3, 6-3.

Badosa will be contesting her first final of her WTA career. She had previously reached the semifinals in Madrid, Charleston and Lyon this year.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano Wins First Career WTA Title at Copa Colsanitas

It’s a homecoming to remember for Maria Camila Osorio Serrano

The 19-year-old Clombian tennis player completed her Cinderella run in front of her home crowd at the Copa Colsanitas in epic fashion, winning her first WTA title 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 over No.5 seed Tamara Zidansek.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano

“It’s been an unreal week for me,” Osorio Serrano said after her win. “I still cannot believe that I won the title.”

At two hours and 48 minutes, it was easily the longest final of the season, 40 minutes over the previous benchmark set by Daria Kasatkina‘s victory over Marie Bouzkova to take the Phillip Island Trophy.

“I played a really great match against Tamara, and I didn’t know how I turned the match,” said Osorio Serrano. “I lost the first set and I was a little bit tight, so I still cannot believe I won.”

World No.180 Osorio Serrano becomes the lowest-ranked WTA title winner since World No. 299 Margarita Gasparyan won Tashkent 2018.

The former junior World No.1 and 2019 US Open girls’ champion is the fourth teenage titlist on tour in 2021 following Iga Swiatek in Adelaide, Clara Tauson in Lyon and Leylah Fernandez in Monterrey.

She’s also the third Colombian to capture the Bogota title in the tournament’s 23-year history, joining four-time champion Fabiola Zuluaga (1999, 2002-04) and 2010 winner Mariana Duque-Mariño on the roll of honour.

“With this tournament, my calendar is going to be more open, I’ll have more options to play bigger tournaments, so I’m super, super happy with this win,” Osorio Serrano said. “And of course that I’m home, with my family, with my friends, with my fans from Colombia. ”

“That was my dream, and kind of a goal, to win the tournament,” Osorio Serrano added.

Osorio Serrano’s last appearance in Bogota had been a significant breakthrough – as a wildcard ranked World No.438, she reached the 2019 quarterfinals, where she lost a high-quality three-setter to eventual champion Amanda Anisimova. This year, playing just her fourth WTA main draw, Osorio Serrano’s talent was on display as she made the final without dropping a set.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano Reaches First-Ever WTA Final

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano is thisclose to claiming her first WTA title.

The 19-year-old Colombian tennis player, the former junior World No.1, continues her Cinderella run on home soil in Bogota’s Copa Colsanitas.

Maria Camila Osorio Serrano

Osorio Serrano, a wildcard in this tournament has had a breakthrough run, which continued on Saturday with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 semifinal victory over French qualifier Harmony Tan, putting her through to her first WTA singles final in just her fourth career WTA main draw appearance.

Her effort this week has seen her earn her first win against a Top 100 player, beating No.7 seed Tereza Martincova in the second round, before following that up with a victory over former Top 50 player Stefanie Voegele in the last eight. She has not dropped a set in four victories this week.

“I feel super happy to be in the final,” Osorio Serrano said after the match. “I was really hoping to be here and to play in the final. I really don’t feel any pressure and I feel like it’s an opportunity for me to enjoy, to play my best and to do what I’ve been doing the whole week.

“It’s my chance to show my tennis, show my best and I hope that I can play well in this final.”

After winning a nearly 15-minute game to begin the match, Osorio Serrano overwhelmed the French qualifier in the first five games to build a 5-0 lead. Contesting her sixth match of the week, Tan received a medical timeout at the ensuing changeover and saved the bagel, but never found a foothold in the match over the course of 85 minutes.

Though each player landed less than half of her first serves in the match, it was Osorio Serrano who proved all the more effective on return: in all, the wildcard broke serve seven times.

Currently ranked World No.180, Osorio Serrano is the lowest-ranked singles finalist on the WTA this year, and is the third player from her country to play for the title in Bogota. Fabiola Zuluaga won the event four times, in 1999 and 2002-04, and Mariana Duque-Mariño won her crown in 2010.

The former US Open junior champion will play No.5 seed Tamara Zidansek for the title.

At the event’s last staging in 2019, Osorio Serrano reached the quarterfinals as a wildcard before bowing out to eventual Amanda Anisimova in three sets. She and Zidansek, the lone seeded player among those to reach the quarterfinals this week, have never played.

“It would mean a lot to win my first WTA title because that’s what we’re working for,” Zidansek said. “I’ve won two WTA 125Ks, but I remember that feeling, how it felt. Going for my first WTA 250 title, winning that would be amazing.”

Paula Badosa Upsets World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty at Volvo Car Open

Paula Badosa has taken down the World No. 1.

The 23-year-old Spanish tennis player, currently ranked No. 71 in the world, defeated top-ranked Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-3 at the Volvo Car Open on Friday.

Paula Badosa

Badosa reached the tournament semifinals in her first time at the season’s opening clay-court tournament. And she was rarely pressured by Australia’s Barty on the way to her first victory over a No. 1 player.

Badosa broke Barty’s serve five times, including the last two times Barty served after the second set was tied 3-all.

“I’m still a little bit shocked. I can’t believe what just happened,” Badosa said. “When the ball went out, I was like, ‘What just happened right now?'”

It was the second time in her past four events that Badosa advanced to the semifinals. She’ll face Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, the 15th seed, on Saturday for a spot in the championship final.

Barty was coming off a victory at the Miami Open last Saturday and looked strong in her first two matches in Charleston. But she fell behind Badosa and struggled to handle her opponent’s serve.

As Badosa got closer to the upset, she worried about Barty’s ability to rally. “Sometimes these matches are very tough to close,” Badosa said. “Today, I’m quite happy that I managed it well.”

Badosa is looking for their first career WTA titles.

Carlos Alcaraz Among ESPN’s ’21 Under 21′ Tennis Players to Watch in 2021

Carlos Alcaraz is among the phenoms to watch this year…

ESPN has announced tennis’ 21 under 21 for 2021, with the 17-year-old Spanish tennis player among the sport’s rising stars making the grade.

Carlos Alcaraz

Despite the circumstances of the 2020 season, Alcaraz managed to move up 350 spots the rankings by year’s end, moving from No. 491 to No. 141, even reaching a career-high of No. 136 in October.

He started the year with back-to-back titles on the ITF Futures tour and was granted a wild card into the Rio Open in February. And the then-16-year-old made the most of his ATP Tour level debut, upsetting former World No. 17 Albert Ramos-Viñolas in 3 hours, 36 minutes in the opening round to become the first player born in 2003 to win a match and the youngest match winner since 2013. Alcaraz called the victory the high point of his season.

Following the restart of the season in August, Alcaraz went 20-4 in ATP Challenger events and won three titles at Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante, as well as playing in the final at Cordenons. He was named the ATP‘s Newcomer of the Year and is the youngest player in the top 600.

But Alcaraz, who idolizes fellow countryman Rafael Nadal, has even bigger goals for 2021. He hopes to make his first main draw appearance at a major in Australia in February and then play in all of the Grand Slams. As for his ranking? He’s hoping to make another big push in the new year.

“I want to finish the year in the top 50,” he said.

But Alcaraz isn’t the only Latinx tennis player to make the list…

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez completed her high school studies in the spring during the tour stoppage.

The 18-year-old half-Ecuadorian tennis player made her major main draw debut at the Australian Open in January — just a year removed from winning the junior title — but it was what she did in the weeks following the event that raised tennis fans’ eyebrows.

After losing in the first round in Melbourne, Fernandez scored her first win over a top-10 player (Belinda Bencic) while representing Canada in the Fed Cup (now known as the Billie Jean King Cup) in Switzerland. Later that month, she won six matches in seven days as a wild card qualifier in the Mexican Open, rolling into the final, where she ultimately lost to Heather Watson. The following week, she advanced to the quarterfinals at the Monterrey Open, defeating 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the second round.

Fernandez made a second-round appearance at the US Open and advanced to the third round of the French Open, where she took a 5-1 first-set lead over Petra Kvitova before the two-time major champion came back to win.

Fernandez thinks her 2021 will be even more successful. Her plan is to reach the top 10 by the end of the year.

Thiago Seyboth Wild wasn’t exactly the favorite entering the Chile Open last February after cracking the top 200 for the first time. But having notched one of the biggest wins of his career the week prior at the Rio Open in 3 hours, 49 minutes — the longest match ever in tournament history — over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and taking World No. 32 Borna Ćorić to three sets the next round, the then-19-year old Brazilian tennis player was flying high entering the event.

What he did over the course of the week in Santiago was even more impressive.

Seyboth Wild knocked off three seeds en route to the title, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to win an ATP event and the youngest Brazilian champion in the Open era.

He found mixed results after the restart, losing in the first round of the US Open and not making it past qualifying at the French Open. But he made a finals appearance at a Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence, which lifted him to a career-high No. 106 in the rankings.

Seyboth Wild hopes to build off what he achieved in 2020 in the new year, although he says he focused more on some of the small things during the preseason.

Here’s the complete list in alphabetical order:

Carlos Alcaraz
Age: 17
Ranking: 141
Country: Spain
Career highlights: Winner of three ATP Challenger titles and three ITF Futures titles; Won his ATP main draw debut at the 2020 Rio Open

Bianca Andreescu
Age: 20
Ranking: 7
Country: Canada
Career highlights: Champion, 2019 US Open, 2019 Indian Wells and 2019 Canadian Open

Amanda Anisimova
Age: 19
Ranking: 30
Country: USA
Career highlights: Semifinals, 2019 French Open; Champion, 2019 Copa Colsanitas

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Age: 20
Ranking: 21 (77 in doubles)
Country: Canada
Career highlights: Fourth round, 2020 US Open; Six-time ATP finalist; Doubles champion, 2020 Paris Masters 

Leylah Fernandez
Age: 18
Ranking: 88
Country: Canada
Career highlights: Third round, 2020 French Open; Finalist, 2020 Mexican Open

Hugo Gaston
Age: 20
Ranking: 162
Country: France
Career highlights: Fourth round, 2020 French Open

Coco Gauff
Age: 16
Ranking: 48 (45 in doubles)
Country: USA
Career highlights: Fourth round, 2019 Wimbledon and 2020 Australian Open; Doubles quarterfinals, 2020 Australian Open; Champion, 2019 Linz Open; Doubles champion, 2019 Washington Open and 2019 Luxembourg Open

Varvara Gracheva
Age: 20
Ranking: 94
Country: Russia
Career highlights: Third round, 2020 US Open; Seven ITF titles 

Kaja Juvan
Age: 20
Ranking: 104
Country: Slovenia
Career highlights: Second round, 2019 Wimbledon, 2020 US Open, 2020 French Open; Seven ITF titles 

Sebastian Korda
Age: 20
Ranking: 118
Country: USA
Career highlights: Fourth round, 2020 French Open; One title on ATP Challenger Tour 

Marta Kostyuk
Age: 18
Ranking: 99 (112 in doubles)
Country: Ukraine
Career highlights: Third round, 2018 Australian Open, 2020 US Open; Three ITF singles titles, two ITF doubles titles 

Ann Li
Age: 20
Ranking: 98
Country: USA
Career highlights: Third round, 2020 US Open; Three ITF titles 

Caty McNally
Age: 19
Ranking: 121 (42 in doubles)
Country: USA
Career highlights: Third round, 2020 US Open; Doubles quarterfinals, 2020 Australian Open; Doubles champion, 2019 Washington Open and 2019 Luxembourg Open 

Lorenzo Musetti
Age: 18
Ranking: 128
Country: Italy
Career highlights: Semifinals, 2020 Sardinia; Third round, 2020 Italian Open; One ATP Challenger title and two ITF Futures titles 

Brandon Nakashima
Age: 19
Ranking: 166
Country: USA
Career highlights: Second round, 2020 US Open; One ATP Challenger title and two ITF Futures titles 

Anastasia Potapova
Age: 19
Ranking: 101 (133 in doubles)
Country: Russia
Career highlights: Second round, 2019 Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon; Finalist, 2018 Moscow River Cup, 2018 Tashkent Open; Doubles champion, 2018 Moscow River Cup, 2019 Lausanne

Thiago Seyboth Wild
Age: 20
Ranking: 116
Country: Brazil
Career highlights: First round, 2020 US Open; Champion, 2020 Chile Open

Jannik Sinner
Age: 19
Ranking: 37
Country: Italy
Career highlights: Quarterfinals, 2020 French Open; Champion, 2020 Sofia Open, 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals 

Iga Swiatek
Age: 19
Ranking: 17 (75 in doubles)
Country: Poland
Career highlights: Champion, 2020 French Open 

Clara Tauson
Age: 18
Ranking: 152
Country: Denmark
Career highlights: Second round, 2020 French Open; Seven ITF titles 

Dayana Yastremska
Age: 20
Ranking: 29 (90 in doubles)
Country: Ukraine
Career highlights: Fourth round, 2019 Wimbledon; Champion, 2018 Hong Kong, 2019 Hua Hin, 2019 Strasbourg

Rafael Nadal to Lead Spanish Team at Next Month’s ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal is headed back to the court next month…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star is set to return for the ATP Cup, the season-opening men’s team tennis event, starting February 1, but the United States will be missing because of a change in format that has halved the field.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, last year’s runner-up, will be joined in the tournament by last year’s ATP Cup champion Novak Djokovic. His Spanish team includes Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella, Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Gonzalez will represent Argentina in this year’s tournament, while Alex de Minaur will play for Australia and Steven Diez will represent Canada.

The inaugural event last year featured 24 teams and was played in three Australian cities, with Djokovic’s Serbia team beating Nadal and Spain in the final at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The February 1-5 second edition will involve 12 teams and be played entirely at Melbourne Park amid COVID-19 restrictions, along with WTA and ATP tournaments, in the week leading into the Australian Open.

The draw will be held on January 20, with teams divided into four groups. The winner of each round-robin group will advance to the semifinals.

Qualification for the ATP Cup was based on the ranking of each country’s top player, with Australia included on a wild-card entry. Other competing countries include Austria, Russia, Greece, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Japan, France and Canada.

All players arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open will be required to quarantine for 14 days before the delayed start of the season’s first major. The Australian Open is usually staged in the last two weeks of January, but it has been pushed back to February 8-21 because of travel and other restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualifying for the men’s singles draw will take place in Doha, Qatar, and for the women’s in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, both running January 10-13.

As with other sports, the international tennis calendar was disrupted in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, including the postponement of the French Open‘s start from May to September, and the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II.

Rosie Casals & Women’s Tennis’ Original 9 to be Subject of Docu-Series About Their Fight for Equality

Rosie Casals’ fight for equal pay (and more) is getting told…

Tennis legend Billie Jean King will narrate a docu-series, featuring her then doubles partner, the 72-year-old Salvadoran American former tennis player, and the other members of the Original 9, that’ll tell the stories of pay inequities, motherhood, LGBTQ+ rights, and intersectionality and diversity in women’s sports.

Billie Jean King & Rosie Casals

Glamour and Condé Nast Entertainment, along with King and Little Monster Films, are producing the series to show the trailblazers who tried to bridge the appalling disparity of pay and standing that female athletes past and present have endured.

The jumping off point was a Glamour cover that focused on how a fed-up King and a group of top female tennis players called the Original 9 tried to bridge the pay gap between the scraps they were getting, and the big paydays limited to their male counterparts.

Rosie Casals

The 27-year old King was the top player in her sport where the entire women’s prize pool was $5,000. King led a group that included Casals, Nancy Richey, Julie Heldman, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton, Kerry Melville Reid, Peaches Bartkowicz and Kristy Pigeon. They announced their own tour—it became the forerunner of the Women’s Tennis Association– and found enough sponsors and financial support to launch a 23-match tour with an unprecedented $100,000 in prize money.

The series will focus on that and other struggles that led to course corrections, and areas that need to improve. Anyone who watched the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team win the World Cup again in 2019 likely knows of their struggle to be paid comparable to their male counterparts.

The multi-part series will be produced by Oscar winners Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin.

“We’ve made progress in pay equality in and out of sports, but there’s still so much more to do for future generations,” said King. “People have to invest in women—and I don’t mean just women investing in women, I mean everyone. I’m excited to partner with Glamour to bring these vital issues to a wider audience.”

Glamour editor Samantha Barry said that after the magazine exhibited “long history of championing our female sporting heroes and demanding their equal remuneration, we are committing to our first ever long-form docu-series chronicling this historic fight. These are sportswomen, but they are also all women—and this incredible piece of storytelling has the power to reshape all our futures.”

“Jimmy and I have a long history of telling athletes’ stories, digging in to both their sport and a larger narrative of ambition, motivation, and risk,” says Little Monster Films’ Chai Vasarhelyi. “We are passionate about spotlighting new and unheard voices among women athletes, and this series with Glamour and the legendary Billie Jean will capture those character-driven stories. On the court, we’re seeing more and more teams standing united in their activism. Now is the time for this project, as the relationship between our sports and our wider political conversations is at an all-time high.”

 

 

Roberto Bautista Agut to Headline the Three-Event Series ‘UTR Pro Series-Spain’

Roberto Bautista Agut is heading back to the court…

The 32-year-old Spanish professional tennis player will headline the UTR Pro Series-Spain, a three-event series that’ll be played on successive weekends beginning July 10 in Barcelona.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Conspicuous in his absence: ATP No. 2 ranked Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t taken part in any of the growing number of “re-opening” events tennis entrepreneurs and officials have staged during the suspension of ATP and WTA tennis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spanish events will feature Bautista Agut, ranked No. 12 in the world, No. 25 Pablo Carreno Busta, and Albert Ramos-Viñolas, who is No. 41. Two of the other committed players are well-known veterans Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, both of whom are still ranked in the Top 100.

The UTR Pro Series tournament format is modeled on the wildly popular exhibition event created by Roger Federer, the Laver Cup (this year’s event, scheduled for Boston in late September, has been canceled due to a conflict with the postponed French Open). 

The eight participants in the UTR showdown will be divided into two teams. The matches will be best-three sets, but with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set.

UTR, or Universal Tennis Rating, is an organization built on the foundation of a rating system that differs substantially from the formal ATP ranking system. It rates all players, including top pros, solely on the basis of their results against each other in recent matches recognized by UTR. It’s already widely used in junior play and by college recruiters, and has sponsored a number of exhibitions in recent months.

Federer is out of action for the rest of the year due to an aggravated knee injury. Novak Djokovic made his first appearance as a player during the coronavirus pandemic in late June, but the four-tournament Adria Tour he conceived turned into a debacle due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Djokovic was among those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Nadal has kept his distance from the exhibition circuit, and has also expressed disappointment at the prospect of playing without fans in attendance at the upcoming US Open. He hasn’t yet decided if he’ll defend his title in New York.