Paula Badosa kept her incredible breakout 2021 season going Thursday reaching the Indian Wells semifinal after storming past former No. 1 Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5.
In their first meeting, Badosa and her power and pressure and fewer unforced errors were the difference against the lefty.
Badosa led 5-2 in the second with two match points on the Kerber serve. The German came back to level at 5-all but Badosa got it done to reach her second Masters semifinal after Madrid earlier this year.
The 23-year-old Spaniard is also very much in the hunt for the WTA finals now. And she’s not done yet. Tomorrow in the semifinals she’ll face Ons Jabeur.
The Tunisian is also having her best season, and she toppled the favored Anett Kontaveit 7-5, 6-3.
“Honestly a great match, great fight,” Jabeur said. “Always tough to play against Anett. I tried to play my game little bit, but she knows me so well. It was kind of tough to kind of execute those dropshots.”
The victory also gets her into the Top 10 on Monday become the first Arab to reach such heights.
“Top 10 I know is the beginning,” she said. “I know I deserve this place from a long time since I was playing well. But I want to prove that I deserve to be here, I deserve to be one of the Top 10 players.
“There is a lot of things that I need to improve. I’m very happy, a lot of emotions right now, but I’m still in competition so I’m trying to calm down and not overthink about Top 10. Probably will celebrate after the tournament. I just believed in myself, I worked hard, and this is just the beginning of great things.”
Tomorrow, it’s both women’s semifinals with a third meeting between Jabeur and Badosa with Jabeur winning a tight 3-setter in Miami this year while the Spaniard took it back at the 2015 US Open.
Earlier, 2-time champion Victoria Azarenka collides with former French champion Jelena Ostapenko.
“I feel like I’ve always liked to play on big tournaments,” Azarenka said on Wednesday. “Indian Wells is almost like the fifth Grand Slam. I always had a lot more motivation coming to tournaments like this.
“Conditions are pretty tricky here. It’s about, like, adjustment a lot and navigating through two weeks. It’s a two-week event, so it also takes a lot of energy a lot of focus out of you.”
Ostapenko is enjoying her best run in over two years since 2019 Wimbledon.
“It’s really great because especially after I couldn’t play US Open, I was really sad about it because I was in such a great form before. I think it’s another great opportunity because it’s a big tournament,” the Latvian said.
“Most of the players are very tired, but I don’t feel like that. I’m kind of feeling very fresh.”
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