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Paula Badosa shares wholesome exchange with BFF Kostyuk after Australian Open epic
The Spaniard overcame an inspired performance from her good friend to reach the second week Down Under for the first time.
Published Jan 21, 2022
WATCH: Badosa first defeated friend Martina Trevisan in the second round before facing Kostyuk in a thriller.
Paula Badosa was assured of having to play a few good friends to reach the Australian Open’s second week. Marta Kostyuk was determined to be the friend who’d stop her.
“I knew she was looking forward to play against me since the day the draw was out because she told me,” Badosa laughingly recalled in her post-match press conference. “I was like, ‘Okay, it's going to be a battle today.’ So, I'm really happy that I went through that.”
The No. 8 seed got out to an early lead and withstood an impressive fightback from the Ukrainian teenager before ultimately advancing, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, extending her win streak to eight in a row after lifting the Sydney title last week.
“I think I got nervous in that moment, to be honest,” she explained. “I was not maybe serving that well today. I was not feeling as good as the other days on that. I missed a few balls that maybe I wasn't expecting. I got a little bit nervous.
“She started to play very big and going for it. She was putting everything on the lines. She started to play amazing from maybe 4-3, 4-4. Then the match, I knew it was going to be a battle, it could go anywhere.”
Badosa endured one last plot twist when it came time to serve for the match, blasting a can’t-miss sitter out of the court, but insisted the shot wasn’t as easy as it looked.
[Marta] told me that if I keep playing like this, I could do a very good result here. I said she played amazing, and that she could play a little bit less today because it was very tough! That's what we were joking. Paula Badosa
“I didn't even complain or anything because it was a tricky ball! I know maybe it seemed easy from the outside.
“I was quite maybe expecting that I could miss it because it was very tricky with a lot of spin.”
The reigning BNP Paribas Open champion shook off the error to edge over the finish line, where she had a wholesome heart-to-heart with Kostyuk at the net.
“We both admire each other. I really respect her. We know each other since long time. We're very good friends.
“She told me that if I keep playing like this, I could do a very good result here. I said she played amazing, and that she could play a little bit less today because it was very tough! That's what we were joking.
“It's nice to see this kind of relationship after a tough loss for her. It's very nice, her reaction.”
Kostyuk will no doubt be cheering Badosa on in her next match against 2015 semifinalist and 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys. The American is in the midst of a career renaissance after winning her first title in over two years at the Adelaide International and survived a final-set tiebreaker against Wang Qiang to join Badosa in the second week.
“I know she serves very big, very good forehand. She goes for it, typical American. She likes to play big, and she likes to play on big stages as well. She's used to it, as well. She's playing with confidence.
“It’s going to be another tough match, but you're in the second week, so I'm expecting tough matches now.”
Following strong finishes at Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year—where she reached the quarterfinal and Round of 16, respectively—Badosa is a clean run at the US Open away from a career set of major second week appearances, but first aims to go even farther Down Under.