Sabalenka to Face Badosa in Stuttgart Opener After Three Runner-Up Finishes

World No. 2 Sabalenka faces close friend Badosa in Stuttgart opener, seeking first title after 3 runner-up finishes. Strong field includes top players Gauff, Swiatek, and Rybakina, with the tournament serving as a key clay-court warm-up for the French Open.

Salman Khan
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Sabalenka to Face Badosa in Stuttgart Opener After Three Runner-Up Finishes

Sabalenka to Face Badosa in Stuttgart Opener After Three Runner-Up Finishes

World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will face Paula Badosa in the opening round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany. Badosa secured her spot in the match by defeating Diana Shnaider 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.

Sabalenka, a three-time finalist at the clay-court tournament, is aiming to break her streak of runner-up finishes. She lost to former No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the 2021 final and fell to current No. 1 Iga Swiatek in both the 2022 and 2023 title matches.

The upcoming clash between Sabalenka and Badosa holds added significance due to their close off-court friendship . Their previous encounter in Miami came shortly after the tragic suicide of Sabalenka's former boyfriend.

In other first-round matches, Sachia Vickery of the United States defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich and will next face compatriot Coco Gauff, the world No. 3. Russia's Veronika Kudermetova outlasted Barbora Krejcikova 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a marathon match lasting over three hours. Kudermetova will play No. 4 Elena Rybakina in the second round.

The tournament features a strong field, with eight of the top 10 women's players competing. Gauff, Sabalenka, Swiatek, and Rybakina all received first-round byes.

Swiatek, the defending champion, is bidding to become the first player to win the Stuttgart title three times since Maria Sharapova's dominance from 2012 to 2014.

Why this matters: The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is a prestigious clay-court event that attracts the world's top women's players. The tournament serves as an important lead-up to the French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year. Success in Stuttgart can provide a confidence boost and valuable ranking points heading into the clay-court major.

The first-round victory marks an important step for Badosa as she continues her return from injury. For Sabalenka, the Stuttgart Open presents an opportunity to claim her first title at the event after three consecutive runner-up finishes and build on her strong start to the 2024 season, which includes winning the Australian Open in January.

Key Takeaways

  • Sabalenka to face Badosa in Stuttgart 1st round, both close friends
  • Sabalenka aims to break her streak of runner-up finishes in Stuttgart
  • Vickery defeats Sasnovich, to face Gauff in 2nd round
  • Kudermetova outlasts Krejcikova in marathon match, to play Rybakina
  • Stuttgart features top players, Swiatek defends title, key French Open prep