Paula Badosa issued an ominous warning ahead of the Australian Open on Saturday, beating French Open champion Barbora Krajicova in a thrilling three-set match to win the Sydney Classic.
Spain’s world number nine won 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) in two hours and 22 minutes after hitting 32 winners and 12 aces.
“Today we both went to extremes. We both entered the top 100 a few years ago and now we are playing in a big final, “said Badosa after beating the fourth-ranked Czech.
They will meet again in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open starting next week.
The 24-year-old Badosa is eyeing a breakout Grand Slam tilt with her quarter-final efforts at last year’s French Open – which Krajiskova won – her deepest run in the Major.
He will enter Melbourne Park with confidence after his third consecutive win against Krajikova, having won both of his previous matches in straight sets last year.
This was a tough one for the aggressive Krajiskova confidently approaching the net early, but he failed to push Badosa, who drew blood first.
Krajikova advanced early in the second set and overcame the service wobbles to push the referee.
Adhering to the script, Badosa got an early break of service before Krejsikova immediately counterattacked in the Topsy-Turvy contest.
But Krajikova was on edge and served strongly to extend the contest by two points after the defeat in the 10th game.
They showed no signs of exhaustion as they advanced with the superb winners in a tight tie break.
However, Badosa maintained his composure and fell to the ground in celebration after being knocked into the forehand net by Krajiskova.
Krajiskova, who saved seven match points against Annette Kontaveit in the semifinals, will face world number 72 Andrea Petkovic in the first round of the Australian Open.
Badosa’s start comes at home in a potentially difficult first-round match against favorite and ranked Ajla Tomaljanovic, although he beat the Australian in straight sets in the Round of 16 in Sydney.