Paula Badosa had already warned that she expected a “very tactical” match against Coco Gauff. With the nerves of her opener at the Mutua Madrid Open against Elisabetta Cocciaretto behind her, the Spaniard was able to put a plan together and execute it well enough to leave her American opponent floundering in a Manolo Santana Stadium that lapped up the home victory (6-3, 6-0).
“I’m proud of myself. I’ve been working very hard. In matches like this, on this court, with all the crowd supporting me, it makes me feel like everything’s worth it. Even though it’s the third round. But it’s special for me”, she admitted.
The WTA world No.42 made a solid start against last year’s French Open finalist, and the sixth seed in Madrid this year, before putting her foot down in the second set to prevent her opponent from producing any kind of response, as she had in the previous round. The result earned the Spaniard a place in the last sixteen of the MMOPEN in just one hour and ten minutes of tennis.
“I just tried to return every ball to make her play one more shot. Sometimes when she feels she doesn’t have free points on the serve, she starts to serve a little worse. I was going more for her forehand, mostly because her backhand is very good, so I just tried to go to her forehand”, she said of the tactics she employed on the Madrid clay.
Now Badosa will take on the winner of the clash between Rebeka Masarova and Greek 9th seed Maria Sakkari, the clash that will close out day six in the Caja Mágica.
“I think it’s going to be a battle between two warriors, two fighters. So I’m looking forward to that. I hope the home crowd can help me get the win”, she told the press.
Madrid’s 2021 semi-finalist is now one step away from equalling her quarter-final finishes this year on the clay courts of Charleston and Stuttgart and she has thirteen wins on the WTA tour this season, compared to just six losses.
“Madrid will never be a normal tournament. I think every year in the first round, I will get cramp, for sure! I will be very nervous. But it’s never going to be like a normal tournament. I mean, it was my first or second WTA event in my life when I was 17 years old, so it will always be special. It was my first semi-finals of a WTA 1000 event. This tournament will always be special for me”, she concluded.