Australian Open: Paula Badosa outplays Marta Kostyuk to reach R16



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Australian Open: Paula Badosa outplays Marta Kostyuk to reach R16

Paula Badosa survived a test against Marta Kostyuk in their third-round clash at the 2022 Australian Open. The eighth seed from Spain eventually prevailed 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 after two hours and 19 minutes of play. At the start of the match, it took both players a little while to get settled into the proceedings as the first three games of the first set saw the returner bag the advantage.

However, Badosa was the one to stop the flow of breaks as she held her serve for the first time in the fourth game. Thereafter, there was no looking back for her. Badosa’s shots turned into winners while Kostyuk struggled with hers, missing even the easiest ones.

It took Badosa just 29 minutes to wrap up the set on her serve, at love, in the eighth game. The second set saw Badosa pick up from where she’d left off. Errors continued to pile up for Kostyuk while Badosa secured an early break and go up 4-2 in the set.

At this point, however, there was a distinct shift in the match’s momentum as Kostyuk began to find the inside of the court more often while Badosa miscued her shots. The world no. 6’s serve, too, started to mistime and she hit a few double faults that dented the superiority of the game she’d been showing up to that point, further.

A break back in the eighth game allowed Kostyuk back into the set and she used this opportunity to make the most for herself. Powerful winners off the 19-year-old’s racquet helped her retain her serves with ease while Badosa struggled on hers.

In the 12th game, trying to serve to take the set into the tie-break, Badosa’s game unravelled some more. She did save three set points but two unforced errors later went on to concede the set on the fourth. Four games of the first six games of the deciding set were service breaks and like in the first, it was Badosa who halted this chain by consolidating on her third break of the set in the eighth game.

The end of the match seemed to get closer as Kostyuk’s shots started getting as wayward as they’d been in the first set. She did do well to save two match points on her serve in the ninth game and two more on Badosa’s serve in the 10th game but wasn’t able to thwart Badosa for much longer, with another error sending her opponent into the second week and her, out of the Major.

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Kostyuk had the bigger share in terms of winners and unforced errors. The former, 30 to the Spaniard’s 25, helped her push the match while the latter tally, 49 to Badosa’s 42 negated her prospects to cause an upset.

Badosa will play either Madison Keys or Qiang Wang in the pre-quarter-finals. Meanwhile, the first winner of day five at Melbourne Park was two-time champion, Victoria Azarenka. The 24th seed made quick work of 15th seed Elina Svitolina, winning 6-0, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

Azarenka will play fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round. The Czech came from a set down against the 26th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Lastly, 21st seed Jessica Pegula and fifth seed Maria Sakkari set up a fourth-round clash at the 2022 Australian Open.

Pegula beat Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-6(3), 6-2. The Greek ousted 28th seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 6-1 in their round-of-32 meeting.