Paula Badosa, the No 9 seed from Spain, was the first to withdraw from the WTA 500 Adelaide International 2 semi-final on Friday, citing a thigh injury and handing No 5 seed Daria Kasatkina a walkover into the final.
I think I was playing very good tennis, high level. Mentally I was feeling very well, as well. I played three really good matches. I think that helps me, as well, on my confidence for the tournaments ahead. Now it's something that I cannot control, so it is what it is. Paula Badosa
“I’m really disappointed that I had to withdraw today because I was really looking forward to the match,” Badosa told the press. “Yesterday when I was playing against [Beatriz Haddad Maia], it was a very tough match, especially physical, so I felt a little bit in my abductor. I felt like I pulled it a little bit.
“Today I feel a little bit worse, so yeah, I have the Australian Open ahead, and I hope I can recover for that.”
The Spaniard was then followed by Veronika Kudermetova, the 6th-seeded Russian, who pulled out due to a left hip injury ahead of her Last 4 contest with Belinda Bencic, the No 8 seed, sending the Swiss into the final without striking a ball.
Badosa is still looking ahead to playing at the year’s first Grand Slam, the 2023 Australian Open, which begins on Monday in Melbourne.
“I think I was playing very good tennis, high level,” Badosa said, reviewing her week in Adelaide. “Mentally I was feeling very well, as well.
“I played three really good matches. I think that helps me, as well, on my confidence for the tournaments ahead. Now it’s something that I cannot control, so it is what it is.
“I really enjoyed the time here. I like to play here, I like to play in Australia.
“I always feel very comfortable playing here, and coming here, and starting the season here. I’m happy about my level.
“I’m happy with the way that I started the year, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of it.”
Badosa, who is seeded 11th for the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, is scheduled to play American Caty McNally in her first-round match at Melbourne Park.
The 25-year-old has a fair amount of AO points to defend after reaching the 4th-round a year ago.
Badosa is the latest in a series of players to suffer an injury issue just days before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year, including former US Open champion Emma Raducanu, who is recovering from an ankle injury that she sustained in New Zealand at the ASB Classic.
Meanwhile, the rivalry between 1997-born peers Kasatkina and Bencic, which goes back to their junior days, continues on Saturday when the two meet in the Adelaide final.
At pro level, Kasatkina leads their head-to-head record, 3-2, including their most recent meeting in the 2nd-round at Roland Garros in 2021 when the Russian won 6-2, 6-2.
Bencic, though, was the winner of their only previous outdoor hardcourt encounter, which was also in Adelaide, when she won 6-4 6-4 in the 2020 1st-round and went on to reach the final.
The women’s doubles final was played on Friday, when Brazil’s Luisa Stefani & Taylor Townsend from the USA defeated Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova & Elena Rybakina from Kazakstan, 7-5 7-6(3) in an hour and 45 minutes to lift the Adelaide trophy.