WTA

Badosa eyes return to the top after downing Kasatkina as Raducanu exits in Stuttgart

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Paula Badosa believes she can break back into the world's top three after cruising past Daria Kasatkina at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where Emma Raducanu crashed out on Tuesday.

Seventh seed Kasatkina had no answers in Stuttgart as she fell to a 6-1 6-1 defeat against Badosa, who recorded the ninth top-10 victory of her career and first in exactly 12 months.

Badosa has won 29 clay-court matches in the last three seasons – only Ons Jabeur (35) and Iga Swiatek (30) have won more – but the Spaniard had to enter this tournament as a wildcard.

The 25-year-old was as high as second in the world last year but has fallen to 31st, and she outlined her goal to reach the top once more after her first-round win set up an all-Spanish meeting with Cristina Bucsa.

When asked about her ambitions to return to the world's top three, Badosa said: "That's what I'm working on every day. That's one of my goals – I want to be back on the top.

"I like to play big matches, I like to be in the last rounds of the tournaments. I still know I have that level. I still know I was that player. I still believe in myself, and I hope I'm back there very soon."

Jelena Ostapenko eased into the second round with similar dominance after downing Raducanu 6-2 6-1 in just 58 minutes, teeing up a meeting with world number four Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.

Latvian Ostapenko powered 19 forehand winners and went unbroken, acknowledging in her on-court interview that familiar aggression was key to her success in the battle of two one-time grand slam winners.

"I knew against her the main thing was to step in the court," said former French Open winner Ostapenko. "I missed some balls, but I tried to be aggressive all the time when it was possible.

"Just try to take the ball early, don't give her many chances. And finally, I'm back on clay, my favourite surface."

Barbora Krejcikova was another straight-sets winner, scoring a 6-2 6-0 triumph over Liudmila Samsonova, with the reward for the 2021 Roland Garros champion being a tricky clash against second seed and Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka.

There was no such ease for Anastasia Potapova in a battling 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-4) victory over Petra Martic, the Russian's ninth third-set win in 2023 – no WTA Tour player has managed more.

Tatjana Maria overcame Ylena In-Albon 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in another enticing clash, while Beatriz Haddad Maia advanced after Martina Trevisan was forced to retire when trailing 7-5 1-1 due to a right thigh injury.

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    They are back on clay just across the Channel in Le Portel on Friday and Saturday, and Keothavong is likely to need Raducanu to win at least one match if Britain are to spring a surprise and reach the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November.

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