Badosa’s Tearful Late-Night Retirement Sends Sabalenka Into Next Round In Stuttgart

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After battling bravely for over two hours at the 2024 Porsche Tennis Grand PrixPaula Badosa was forced to retire against good friend Aryna Sabalenka.

Less than a month ago, Badosa and Sabalenka played in a very emotional match for the Belarusian. Everything that happened at the Miami Open was a huge tragedy and certainly left a mark on her, but she elected to play and ultimately beat Badosa in that match.

Fast-forward to now, and there is another chapter of their friendly rivalry, which is interesting because they played in Stuttgart last year as well. This was actually the third time they played in Stuttgart against each other, and once again, Sabalenka won the match.

Unfortunately, this win has an asterisk because it came after Badosa retired at 3-3 in the final set after powering through an injury for a good portion of the third set. The opening set was a competitive one, with the Spanish player breaking first.

She took a 4-2 lead but wouldn’t hold it, as Sabalenka forced a tiebreak. In the tie-break, the Belarusian was able to win, taking it 7-4. Badosa didn’t give up, though. She kept playing aggressive tennis, which gave her opponent quite a few problems.

She would jump out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, which Sabalenka reduced to a 5-4 lead, after which Badosa was forced to take a medical timeout, which took place off the tennis court.

Badosa seemingly felt lower back pain, which needed to be addressed. After coming back, the Spaniard finished off the set 6-4 but was in visible pain as she powered through the games. She started to limp as well, but she gave it her all in most rallies.

An early break in the third set kept her going, but after Sabalenka broke back to make it 3-3, the Spaniard elected to retire down 0-30 in the seventh game of the final set.

It’s another setback in a long battle with injuries for the former world number 2, who broke in tears when hugging Sabalenka at the net, as the Belarusian struggled to find words after the match.

“I felt so bad for her, I love this girl. I’m not happy, I’m not sad. I just want to say thank you to people who stayed until the end of this match. I have no words hontestly.”

 

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