Paula Badosa may not have come close to winning a Grand Slam this year, but she showed that no effort is wasted as she remains in the Top 5.
A strong start to the year
Starting off the 2022 season by winning the Sydney International event, Paula Badosa began the year in red hot form. The Spaniard had defeated the likes of Jelena Ostapenko, Daria Kasatkina, and Barbora Krejcikova on her way to the title. Prior to this, Badosa had ended the 2021 season by securing the Indian Wells title for the first time and reached the semis of the WTA Finals event.
Following her success in Sydney, Paula Badosa reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time, going down to Madison Keys. Despite early exits at the following events in Dubai and Qatar, the 24-year-old had an impressive run at the 2022 BNP Paribas Open. While she was ultimately unable to defend the title, Badosa made it to the semifinals where she eventually lost to Maria Sakkari in three sets.
Reaching new heights
Following her exit at Indian Wells, Paula Badosa reached back-to-back quarterfinals at the Miami Open and the Charleston Open. At this point, Badosa rose to a new personal best ranking of world No.3, but she didn’t stop there. The next event took place on the clay courts of the Stuttgart Open, where the Spaniard pulled off two impressive wins over Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur in the opening rounds. Reaching the semifinals of an event for the second time in the year, Badosa exited the Stuttgart Open at the hands of Aryna Sabalenka in two tight sets.
Her efforts were not in vain, as her results in Germany paved the way for another jump in rankings. Paula Badosa had reached the world No.2 spot through consecutive quarterfinal and semifinal appearances, showing a relatively high level of consistency on tour. Unfortunately, this would be the Spaniard’s peak rank for the year, as the following events saw a slight drop in results. Nevertheless, Paula Badosa continued to fight through injuries and early exits to participate in every tournament she could.
Never giving up!
The following events at the Madrid and Italian Opens saw Paula Badosa lose in her second-round matches at the hands of Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina respectively. Given their strong status as Top 20 players, losing to these players wasn’t anything to be ashamed of. However, the back-to-back early exits did signal a threat to the 24-year-old’s WTA Top 5 position. Showing a slight resurgence at the French Open by getting past Kaja Juvan in the second round, Badosa’s streak of bad luck continued with a third-round walkover due to a calf injury.
Fortunately, Paula Badosa bounced back strong in the following Grand Slam event at Wimbledon. There, she reached the fourth round for the second consecutive year, ultimately falling to Simona Halep in straight sets. Despite the unfortunate result, the Spaniard showed an impressive ability to bounce back from injury and compete against the best.
Paula Badosa’s next best result came at the Silicon Valley Classic in the lead-up to the US Open. She put on a strong performance to beat Elizabeth Mandlik in the opening round and fight through a three-setter. More impressively, Badosa took down sixth seed Coco Gauff in the quarterfinal, besting the teen in straight sets. Reaching yet another semifinal, Badosa was defeated by Daria Kasatkina for the second time this year and in her career.
Prospects for 2023
Indeed, Paula Badosa’s semifinal run at Silicon Valley would be her last notable performance. Since then, she had had poor results throughout the Canadian Open, Cincinnati, US Open, and Japan Open. Regardless, Badosa had racked up enough ranking points through her consistent efforts throughout the year to remain in the WTA Top 5. As she’s proved many times this year, the world No.3 is more than capable of bouncing back from poor results.
Without a doubt, Paula Badosa has strong prospects for Grand Slam success in 2023. Not only has she maintained her extraordinary ranking throughout the year, but also holds strong head-to-head results against Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur, the current Grand Slam favorites on tour. Whether or not she wins a major title, Paula Badosa is sure to be a major threat to the competition in 2023 and a gatekeeper for the WTA Top 5 players.