Guadalajara, Jalisco, November 16, 2021.- For the second time in the history of the WTA Finals, there will be a Spanish player in the final match of the Finals and for the first time, there will be two Spaniards competing in the semifinals.
Garbiñe Muguruza and Paula Badosa will face each other in the semifinals of the AKRON WTA Finals Guadalajara 2021, so the participation of a player from Spain in the grand final is guaranteed. The only time that a Spanish player has reached the final of a WTA Finals, was in 1993 when Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, achieved finals in Madison Square Garden in New York, where she lost to the legendary Steffi Graf, in four sets 6-1,6-4, 3-6, 6-1. This was when it was still called the WTA Championship and the matches were played with three out of five sets.
“I did not know this whole story. In 1993, I was born that year, it’s amazing and incredible, there are four players left and two of them are Spanish. I mean, that alone, shows that Spain has a high level of tennis,” Muguruza, explained.
Badosa reached the second phase of the tournament as the first-place winner of the Chichén Itzá group with a perfect 3-0 record, with victories over Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, the Greek Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek from Poland.
Meanwhile, Garbiñe Muguruza finished second place in the Teotihuacán group after achieving a 2-1 record, after losing to the Czech Karolina Pliskova and defeating Barbora Krejcikova, also from the Czech Republic and Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
“It is incredible to have two Spanish players. Of course, Garbiñe, it is playing in her fifth or sixth WTA Finals. For me it was already a dream to be here, so you can imagine how I feel playing in the semifinals against her. It will surely be a battle tomorrow,” said Badosa. “As I said at the beginning of the tournament, she is a player that I have always admired because she motivated many Spaniards. I hope that with the semifinals, with my season, in the next few years I can do the same that she did for me. When I was little, I wanted to be like her, of course, my idol was Maria Sharapova, but in Spain she was the one I followed. She was the example and it helped me,” Badosa claimed when talking about her rival in the semifinals.
Ironically, neither player was born in Spain; Muguruza was born in Caracas, Venezuela, while Badosa was born in New York, USA.
Throughout their professional careers, the 28-year-old Muguruza and Badosa, who just turned 24 on Monday, were selected from Spain in the Fed Cup and teamed up at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
They have never faced each other on the WTA tour, making this their first head-to-head to win a ticket into the final of the most prestigious tournament that concludes the women’s tennis season.
“To be honest we never met each other. I used to follow her, used to see her, but from afar. The first time we started talking, to be closer, it was perhaps at the Olympics, this summer. We spent time together, that was very good,” Muguruza pointed out.
While Badosa is in her debut year at the WTA Finals, this is Muguruza’s fourth time competing in the event. Her best result was in 2015, when she made reached the semifinal round, where she fell to the eventual champion Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland.
“Well now I definitely have more experience and maturity. I know when to save energy for when I need it and when to be smarter about it and not be too emotional. I started with a loss and said to myself, “it doesn’t matter, I’m going to give it my all, I still have a chance.” I think I am more prepared to be in the semifinals than I was in 2015,” said Garbiñe about her participation six years ago. “It is going to be a fun match. Hopefully the crowd will be present at the match. I’m very happy for Paula, she reached the top playing amazing tennis and as an Indian Wells winner, she has always had the talent. We share funny moments together at the Olympics. We have talked a little bit,we know each other a little more. It is a special week that has strengthened the both of us,” said Garbiñe, who has a record won 12 matches and lost 2 tournaments played in Mexico.
Both come to this match as two-time champions this season, Muguruza with titles in Dubai and Chicago, while Badosa was crowned in Belgrade and Indian Wells.