It was an astonishing match, all guns were blazing, and eventually Paula Badosa sealed a well-earned victory over Anastasija Sevastova, 6-7 (0), 7-6 (3), 6-0, after two hours and 35 minutes of play. The Catalonian, who had to hold back the tears, will now fight for a place in the semis.
“I believed. I never stopped believing and that led me to victory”, Badosa told TVE, after becoming the third Spanish woman to reach the quarter-finals at the #MMOPEN, joining Carla Suárez and Anabel Medina. Medina did so in 2013, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams, while the Canary Islander achieved the feat in 2015 and 2018.
Tercera ?? en llegar a CF en el #MMOPEN
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 3, 2021
The first set started very positively for Badosa, who earned a break in the sixth game to make it 4-2. Sevastova broke back immediately though, stringing together three games to take a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve for the match. But Badosa had other ideas, drawing level once more, when she most needed to. The set ended up in a tiebreak, where an unstoppable Sevastova won every point.
The Spaniard knew that she had to wipe the slate clean. She came out in the second set with conviction and armed with patience in the face of Sevastova’s sizeable arsenal, which provided her with a response to seemingly anything the Catalonian could throw at her. This set was also replete with opportunities and holding serve was proving a tall order. Badosa served to level the match at 5-4 and had two set points, but the Latvian defended well. Again, they went to sudden death, but this time it was a different story with Badosa coming out on top to force a decider.
The fans in the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium lifted Badosa with their chants and she rode the wave of home support to stamp her authority on the match. She had weathered the storm of the first two sets, now she dug into the Madrid clay and reaped her rewards; a resounding 6-0 and a ticket to the quarters. “If it hadn’t been for the fans, I don’t know if I’d have won today”, admitted the Catalonian, who will now play Belinda Bencic for a place in the semis.