In a match that could easily have been a final, shoulder problems hampered Paula Badosa’s chances against an impressive Simona Halep. The two-time champion of the Mutua Madrid Open (2016-17) stamped her authority on the Manolo Santana Stadium as she saw off last year’s semi-finalist in two sets (6-3, 6-1) in one hour and 13 minutes of tennis.
The Romanian player progressed to the last sixteen of the WTA 1000 on the Caja Mágica clay, where she has played more finals than anyone (4) and is looking to draw level with the three titles of Czech Petra Kvitova.
Halep took the first set in 43 minutes having broken her opponent’s serve at the first opportunity. Despite Badosa breaking back in the fourth game and then taking the lead (2-3), the two-time Grand Slam champion strung together nine games to give the WTA’s No. 2 player a mountain to climb (6-3, 5-0).
Earlier, in the break after the third game in the second set, Badosa requested medical attention for her right shoulder. The Spaniard was determined not to go out without putting up a fight and saved two match points and took a game from her opponent before saying goodbye to the fans.
Halep will now be bidding for a place in the quarters against Coco Gauff. The American needed three sets to fight back against Yulia Putintseva in their two hour and twenty one minute battle. The fourteenth seeded took the first set (6-1), then reacted the Kazakh (2-6) forcing the 18-years-old dig deep in the decider (6-4).
Vendrán semanas mejores, ?? @paulabadosa
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) April 30, 2022
Feeling at home
Simona Halep acknowledged that she was well aware of the difficulty of claiming a victory over the second seed. “I knew it would be a battle and a very tough match because Badosa is now the No. 2 and she has been playing solidly. I think I played well, confidently, and that gave me chances. The only thing I wanted was to give my best”, she explained after the tie.
The French Open (2018) and Wimbledon (2019) champion feels very welcome at the WTA 1000 in the Spanish capital. “I’ve played four finals in Madrid, I’ve won two and of course it’s always a pleasure to play here in Madrid in front of these fans”, admitted Halep to a packed Manolo Santana Stadium.
The 30-year-old player made no bones about the fact that she is feeling more positive thanks to her new coach. “It’s an honour to have Patrick Mouratoglu in my box and, despite the fact that it’s our first tournament, I think I played well and I hope to keep improving and enjoying every day”, ended Halep.