World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty became the latest casualty in a tournament full of surprises on Friday, falling to No. 71-ranked Spaniard Paula Badosa, 6-4, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of Charleston.
Badosa is now through to the biggest semifinal of her career at the WTA 500 event.
“I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe I just beat the No. 1 in the world,” the Spaniard said in her on-court interview. “I was nervous, but I served very well, and I think that was the key of the match.
“It was a tough match, but I was there until the last moment.”
It was actually a very clean match from both players. Badosa finished the match with a +7 differential of winners to unforced errors, 19 to 12, and Barty had an even better +10 differential, 34 to 24.
But in the end it was all about the big points, and Badosa was just too sharp on those, converting on five of her 10 break points in the match. Barty, meanwhile, converted just two of 14 break points.
Barty missed one last inside-out forehand on match point to end it after an hour and 16 minutes.
“What I’m most proud of about today is that I’ve been here playing every point, no matter what,” Badosa said. “It was 0-40 at 5-4 in the first set and I came back, and in the second set she had break points as well, but I just stayed calm and tried to serve very well. And it just went very well.”
Barty had been on court for more than two hours the night before, battling past Shelby Rogers in a tight three-setter—but the Australian didn’t let that take away from Badosa’s victory on Friday.
“I think it’s been a collective over the last three weeks of playing a lot of matches, which is always a good problem to have,” she said. “But without a doubt I had to adjust the way I approached this match. I had to be super aggressive, and all in all I think it was way too many risks. But it’s been an exceptional three weeks to start off our trip, and I’ll take nothing but the positives from it.”
Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith
This has turned into an absolute breakthrough week for Badosa. She’d been to three WTA semifinals before, but they were all at WTA 250s—Palermo in 2019, Istanbul in 2020 and Lyon this year.
And there’s more: having come into Charleston 0-5 against Top 20 players, she got her first Top 20 win over No. 12 Belinda Bencic in the second round, and now her first Top 10 win over No. 1 Barty.
Awaiting Badosa in the semis will be Veronika Kudermetova, who took out 2017 US Open champion (and 2018 French Open finalist) Sloane Stephens in the last quarterfinal of the day on Friday, 6-3, 6-4.
Kudermetova has won both of their previous meetings, first in the qualifying of Indian Wells back in 2019, 6-3, 6-2, and then in the third round of the main draw in Abu Dhabi this year, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.