Sydney, Jan 15 (IANS) World No.9 Paula Badosa of Spain overcame a strong challenge from world No.4 Barbora Krejcikova, defeating the 26-year-old 2021 French Open champion 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) to claim the Sydney Tennis Classic title on Saturday.
This was the 24-year-old Badosa's third career WTA singles title, and the WTA 500 tournament triumph came in 2 hours and 22 minutes of closely-contested power tennis.
Badosa and Czech Republic's Krejcikova were the two biggest movers into the top-10 during the last season. Krejcikova started 2021 ranked No.65 and Badosa even lower at No.70. But both had career-best seasons to finish the year in the elite and earn spots at the year-end WTA Finals.
On Saturday, Krejcikova claimed her first set against Badosa, as she nearly emulated her comeback win over Anett Kontaveit of Estonia from Friday's semifinals, where she prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.
However, Badosa refused to let Krejcikova repeat that feat, keeping her undefeated record against the reigning French Open champion alive.
'I am super excited. After the level of this final, even more. Amazing week, amazing final. I'm very happy,' Badosa was quoted as saying by wtatennis.com.
'Details (made the difference). Maybe one winner that I hit, one serve, maybe she missed one ball. Sometimes, these kinds of matches, it's one point or two. I had the same experience in Indian Wells final. It changes for nothing. I'm really happy that I won my way. I think the good thing is that I played in a very high level and that I fought until the end.
'It's very nice, as I said in the ceremony, (Krejcikova and I) broke into the top-100, it was like the same year, almost the same week. So it's very nice to now be both in top-10 and playing big finals, and I hope we can play much more, because it's very nice to play against her.'
Badosa is seeded No.8 at the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, which starts on Monday. She opens against Aussie hope Ajla Tomljanovic, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year. Badosa beat Tomljanovic in the second round this week.
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