Quarterfinal Friday: Seeds Badosa, Jabeur lead the way
What a difference a year can make.
Twelve months ago, Spain’s Paula Badosa met Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the second round of the Credit One Charleston Open. Friday they meet for a spot in the quarterfinals.
The last 52 weeks have been life-changing for both: Badosa has rocketed from No. 71 in the world to No. 3 this week, capturing Indian Wells in October for the biggest title of her career.
Bencic won two Olympic medals in August in Tokyo: A gold in singles and a silver in doubles.
One of them will advance to the final four as Charleston will crown a first-time winner here for the eighth consecutive event on Sunday.
“It’s always a very tough match against her,” Badosa said of Bencic, whom she owns a 3-0 head-to-head record against. “She plays very well, very fast. We always have a battle. We played already in 2022. I saw her playing this week and she’s playing very well again.”
Badosa, indeed, is undefeated vs. Bencic, winning here in Charleston last year, as well as in Madrid last May and then Sydney earlier this year.
Bencic is coming off of a confidence-boosting win over 2019 champion Madison Keys, who was the last remaining former title holder in the draw.
Ekaterina Alexandrova, fresh off an upset of No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, and Magda Linette will do battle in the other quarterfinal on the bottom half of the draw.
The top half will feature two Americans who are having a run of form in Amanda Anisimova and Coco Vandeweghe in one quarterfinal, while No. 4 seed Ons Jabeur’s all-court crafty game will be challenged by Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.
Anisimova registered a fourth career Top 10 win on Thursday, beating No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka with a dazzling display of power tennis. She’ll need the same strength and consistency against Vandeweghe, who is bolstered by a big serve and savvy net play.
Vandeweghe, a former world No. 9, is back from a bizarre injury she suffered to a pinky finger on one hand, when she took a bowl out of her microwave at home and it exploded.
She lost in qualifying, but entered into the main draw as a lucky loser and has won three matches into the quarters.
“She has many matches under her belt,” Anisimova said of Vandeweghe. “I played a little bit agasinst her at World TeamTennis. I know her game a little bit. I’m sure it will be a good match.”
It’s an all-play day in doubles, too, with both first round and quarterfinal matches scheduled to play. No. 1 seeds Caroline Dolehide and Zhang Shuai lead the doubles draw.