WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka consoles best friend Paula Badosa after the latter shockingly retires from their match at the Stuttgart Open

Sabalenka moves into the quarter-finals in Stuttgart for the fourth consecutive year.


WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka consoles best friend Paula Badosa after the latter shockingly retires from their match at the Stuttgart Open

Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka (Images via IMAGO, screengrab X)

It was an anti-climatic end to the second-round clash between Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa at the 2024 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The two ladies had put on a great show, splitting the first two sets among them. With an all-to-play decider set, Badosa’s injuries caught up with her, again.

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Sabalenka won the first set in the tiebreaker to draw the first blood. The Spaniard came back strong to take the second set and make things even. She then rushed to a 3-1 lead but things went south afterwards. Her movement was massively restricted, which allowed the Belarusian to make it 3-3.

As the World No. 2 took a 30-0 lead in the seventh game, Badosa simply couldn’t play anymore. She was forced to retire against her wishes, but it was a practical decision given her recent struggles with injuries. Had she played on to finish the match, there was a big chance the injury could have worsened.

The two friends shared a long hug at the net and had a small, inaudible exchange. As they shook hands with the chair umpire, the two hugged again. This time, however, the World No. 93 broke down in tears as Sabalenka continued to comfort her.

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The crowd cheered on for the former World No. 2 as she exited the stadium while Sabalenka also clapped for her. A white taping was clearly visible on Badosa’s left leg as she limped her way to the locker room, controlling her emotions. Sabalenka advanced into the next round with a 7-6(4), 4-6, 3-3 ret. scoreline.

Aryna Sabalenka was left emotionless despite reaching the quarter-finals

Given the nature of her victory that too against her best friend on the Tour, Sabalenka was herself shaken. The reigning Australian Open champ had an honest reaction to the result. She didn’t show any emotion despite maintaining her record of reaching the quarter-finals at the event every year since 2021.

Aryna-Sabalenka-AO24
Aryna Sabalenka (Image via Imago)
I’m about to cry to be honest. I feel so bad for her. I love this girl. I don’t have any emotions right now. I’m not happy. I’m not sad. I just want to say thank you to the people who stayed till the end. Thank you so much.
said Aryna Sabalenka during her on-court interview

Following her qualification for the last-8, the former World No. 1 will now take on the winner from the clash between Marketa Vondrousova and Anastasia Potapova. Vondrousova won her previous encounter in straight-sets against Donna Vekic. Potapova battled Liudmila Samsonova to win in three sets.

Sabalenka remains on course to reach her fourth final at the tournament. Since making her debut at the event in 2021, she has reached the finals every year. Ash Barty defeated her in 2021 while Iga Swiatek got the better of her in 2022 and 2023. The Belarusian would hope the fourth time’s the charm for her.

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