It’s safe to say Spanish tennis is in a bit of a lull as far as fresh talent is concerned. On the men’s side of the game most of the top 100 Spaniards are moving to wards the end of their careers. The exception to that rule is Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, but he is still raw and relatively unproven. On the women’s side of the game however, things are a little more promising. That is largely due to the breakout year Paula Badosa Gibert is currently in the midst of. The 23-year-old is rocketing up the women’s ranks and ticking off several significant career firsts along the way. She is currently a favorite for a semifinal berth at the French Open, and that result is the latest success in a string of fine performances on clay this year. The question is can she go all the way and become the next Grand Slam winner on the women’s tour?
European Clay Court Swing Allows Badosa Gibert to Show her Worth
The young Spaniard’s recent success shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to true tennis fans. Badosa Gibert was a junior Grand Slam champion after all. She lifted the junior French Open title in 2015 and looked set for great things on the pro circuit from a young age. However, it has taken her longer than expected to adjust to the big leagues. Until 2021 she hadn’t achieved much of note but since the start of this year she has been one of the best players on the tour bar none.
Badosa Gibert has been particularly impressive on the clay in Europe. She first showed promise with a semifinal appearance in Charleston 2 in America. Since losing that match she has won 13 of the last 14 clay court matches she has played. That run of wins includes her first semifinal in a WTA 1000 event in Madrid as well as her first WTA title in Belgrade the week after. She is currently on a nine match win streak and currently sits on a career high ranking of 32. A win on Tuesday in Paris would see her move inside the Top 25 in the world. She certainly has played some brilliant tennis in recent weeks, but just how far can the young Spanish star go?
Wins Against Big Names Suggest the Sky is the Limit
If Badosa Gibert’s record against some of the top names in the game is anything to go by, then there is no reason she shouldn’t be aiming for Grand Slam glory in the near future. In recent weeks she has beaten a former Top 10 player in Belinda Bencic. The young star also toppled current world #1 and former French Open champion Ashleigh Barty. Badosa Gibert plays fearless and aggressive tennis regardless of who she faces. It is abundantly that she is clearly starting to believe that she possesses the talent to win big tournaments, particularly on clay.
She heads into her match on Tuesday as the favourite against Tamara Zidansek for several reasons. She is the higher ranked player, in better form and has a higher ceiling to her game. If she plays near her best she should have enough to come through. Should do so, she will appear in her first ever Grand Slam semifinal. There she will face another Slam semifinal debutant in either Elena Rybakina or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Given her recent form, she should like her chances in that match up too. Given that Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek – the two favourites to win the French Open as things stand – face each other in the quarterfinals, Badosa Gibert has to be third in line as far contenders go given her performances over the last week.
Spain’s New Best Hope for Another Grand Slam Winner.
Badosa Gibert might not win it all this year. However, if there is a Grand Slam that stands out as the one for a first time major hopeful to lift it is the French Open. In fact, six of the last ten Roland Garros winners were first time Grand Slam champions. Those odds bode well for several of the remaining players in the tournament. Nonetheless, the young Spaniard is surely more confident than most given her form on clay this year. This tournament is certainly a great opportunity for Badosa Gibert. However, given what she has shown this year it likely won’t be her last chance to lift a big trophy. Spanish tennis is in safe hands on the women’s side of the game and those hands belong to Paula Badosa Gibert.
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