Paula Badosa started slowly but won 10 games in a row to upset top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday in their opening match at the WTA Finals.
Sabalenka, the world´s No. 2 ranked player, dominated early in the match to take a 4-2 lead, but Badosa recovered and won four games in a row to win the first set and then controlled the second with three breaks.
“I played pretty good, the conditions here at tough to play, but I played and amazing match I knew I had to play like this to beat her,” Badosa said.
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Sabalenka, who won titles in Abu Dhabi and Madrid this season, is the first seed in Mexico because world No. 1-ranked Ash Barty of Australia decided not to defend her WTA Finals title due to continuing COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions.
“I am really disappointed of myself and this match, but hopefully I can bring myself back,” Sabalenka said.
Barty had to undergo two weeks of quarantine when she returned to her Brisbane home in September after the U.S. Open and did not want to do the same again travelling to Mexico
Badosa is having a breakthrough season after starting the year ranked 70th.
The Spaniard will play her next match against Maria Sakkari, who used her strong first serve to extend her dominance over former French Open champion Iga Swiatek with a 6-2, 6-4 win earlier.