Paula Badosa 2022 Year in Review

Paula Badosa was one of the WTA stars of 2021. She won her first two titles highlighted by her triumph at Indian Wells. She finished the year in the top-10 after starting 2021 ranked world #70. Beginning the year with momentum and youth at age-24, Badosa seemed poised to have an excellent 2022.

Positive Start to Hard Court Swing

Badosa began the year on hard courts down under right where she left off with her powerful game leading her to great results. She won Sydney for her third career title in her second event of the year again a strong field. She had a fairly disappointing result at the Australian Open, falling in the fourth round to Madison Keys. However, the fourth round appearance was her first ever in a hard court major so it seemed like something to build on. She could not defend her title in Indian Wells, but made a respectable semifinal, then won her first three matches in Miami in straight sets. However, she had to retire from her quarterfinal match due to an illness she had been battling, a disappointing end to the first hard court season but still full of plenty of great results.

Disappointments on Summer Clay and Grass Events

Historically, clay had been Badosa’s best surface, and the Spaniard came off an impressive 17-3 record on clay in 2021. After a quarterfinal and semifinal appearance in her first two clay events, she was unable to play her best tennis at the biggest events. Both WTA 1000 events she played in Madrid and Rome, she lost early in her second match, both losses coming in straight sets. Badosa entered the French Open as the #3 seed with high expectations. She had a nervy second round match but fought through to the third round. After a quick 2-0 lead, she lost five straight games before a medical time out for a right calf injury. After playing through it for a few games, she had to retire from the match in the second set.

Badosa lost her one tune-up match on grass before Wimbledon but rest after the French Open seemed much needed. She reached the fourth round at the Championships without dropping a set, including a win over former champion Petra Kvitova. She faced another former champion in the fourth round in Simona Halep, where Badosa looked out of sorts, winning just three games all match. While she had a title and two round of 16 appearances at slams, Badosa still did not have the major breakthrough expected by the then-fourth ranked player in the world.

Poor Form to end the Season

The tennis season moved back to hard courts where Badosa has had her most success. She made the semifinal in San Jose, another good result seeming to confirm her status as a danger at hard court events. After San Jose, it seemed that Badosa completely lost her form. At the two WTA 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati, Badosa lost her first match after a bye each week, and had to retire again in her match in Toronto due to cramping. Badosa started slow at the US Open, having to come back to scrap out her first round win, just her second match win in four years at the US Open. She could not continue the momentum, losing to Petra Martic in the second round, completing the year with no major quarterfinals.

Badosa was still ranked #4 in the world entering the end of the year when the wheels completely fell off. In her next three hard court events in Tokyo, Ostrava, and San Diego, she won a total of one match and all three of her losses came in straight sets. Badosa entered the last tour event in Guadalajara as world #8, hoping for a strong result to qualify for the WTA Finals. However, she retired from her match against Victoria Azarenka after a 6-2 first set loss due to an illness and dropped out of the top-10 to not qualify for the year end event, a disappointing end to what started out as a good year.

Outlook for Next Season

Badosa is still young, ranked in the top-15, and hoisted a trophy in 2022. Her concern moving forward is both how poorly this year ended and potential fitness issues that plagued her throughout the year. While her calf injury at the French Open did not seem serious, returning twice due to illness and once with cramping is certainly concerning moving forward. She is still a top-level talent and can fight against any player and has shown she can win on the big stages. She has yet to get over the hump at a grand slam so has plenty of potential points to earn with good results, but her 2022 season did not show the same signs of promise she did the year before.

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