Paula Badosa celebrates during her win over No. 1 Ashleigh Barty Friday in Charleston (Photo by: Volvo Car Open/Chris Smith)
- Veronika Kudermetova is looking for her second WTA Tour final of 2021 at the Volvo Car Open
- Paula Badosa is looking to reach the first WTA Tour final of her career
- Kudermetova leads the head-to-head 2-0; we break down Badosa’s chances of pulling off the upset
However it shakes out, the Volvo Car Open in Charleston will crown a first-time WTA Tour champion this weekend.
Neither 12-seed Ons Jabeur or Danka Kovinic (who play the other semifinal), Kudermetova or Badosa has ever held up the champion’s trophy.
Paula Badosa vs Veronika Kudermetova Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Paula Badosa (ESP)||+3.5 (-167)||+112||O 21.5 (-108)|
| Veronika Kudermetova (RUS)||-3.5 (+132)||-139||U 21.5 (-118)|
Odds as of April 10
Badosa Beats the World No. 1
Badosa, who won the junior French Open in 2015 at age 17, has always had her best success on clay.
It’s the only surface on which she has a better-than-.500 win rate in the pros, at 60%.
But it’s taken awhile for her to make a big run at the top level, although she did reach the round of 16 in her only French Open appearance so far, in 2020.
The early hype in Spain after that junior Grand Slam title probably didn’t help her. Many expected her to be a star right away with her power game and good looks. But when it didn’t materialize quickly, she flailed a little bit.
Ranked between 90 and 130 in 2019 and early 2020, she dropped down and played lower-level ITF tournaments for much of the year.
“I always said to my coach, my goal is to someday play against her and do more aces than her. It was in my mind.”@paulabadosa limited Ash Barty to just two aces, while striking five of her own en route to ousting the world No. 1 in Charleston Friday.https://t.co/awEF3tUsdM
— TENNIS (@Tennis) April 10, 2021
Her 6-4, 6-3 victory over world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty Friday in Charleston was partly Barty’s leg-weariness, part Badosa bombing 115-mph serves and hitting a lot of winners.
But on the heels of an upset win over world No. 12 Belinda Bencic earlier in the tournament, it was no fluke.
Badosa came in 0-5 against top-20 players in her career. Beating two in the same week is a breakthrough.
The Spaniard saved 12-of-14 break points against her serve against Barty, and hit seven aces in all. She broke Barty five times during the match.
But a second-serve winning percentage of just 30% against Barty, and a high number of double faults during the week could make her vulnerable to Kudermetova’s aggressive stance on return.
Badosa vs Kudermetova Head-to-Head
|23 (Nov. 14, 1997)||Age||23 (April 23, 1997)|
|New York, NY||Birthplace||Kazan, Russia|
|0||Career WTA Singles Titles||0|
|No. 67 (Jan. 24, 2021)||Career High Ranking||No. 34 (Feb. 21, 2021)|
|No. 71||Current Ranking||No. 38|
|$994,265||Career Prize Money||$1,987,017|
|10-5||2021 Won/Loss record||15-8|
Kudermetova on the Rise
Kudermetova has beaten top-5 players Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova (twice) over the last six months and has turned into a dangerous player in any draw.
In this tournament, though, she has had a sweet path. She only needed to beat a doubles specialist without a singles ranking who qualified (Desirae Krawczyk), a wild card (Emma Navarro) and another qualifier (Kurumi Nara) in the first three rounds.
In the quarterfinals, she took care of Sloane Stephens – a former Grand Slam champion going through a really rough period.
She hasn’t really been tested. And none of her previous opponents can serve the way Badosa can.
Paula Badosa vs Veronika Kudermetova – Previous Meetings
|2021||Abu Dhabi||R16||6-4, 4-6, 6-1||
|2019||Indian Wells||R64||6-3, 6-2||
This Could be Badosa’s Week
Opportunities for unseeded players to win WTA 500 events remain precious. And Badosa has done too much good work in Charleston not to maximize when her semifinal opponent is only the No. 15 seed – even if she’s 0-2 against her.
She’ll need a high percentage of first serves in to avoid the double-fault scourge. But not play it too safe, so that Kudermetova can’t jump all over it. It’s a delicate balance.
On her own serve, Kudermetova leaps in to the court in a way that makes you think she’s going to move right up and volley. She doesn’t, but she’s so far inside the court that deep returns and groundstrokes can put her on her back foot.
The Russian is a slight favorite, but this one feels like an upset.
Best Bet: Badosa in three sets (+400)
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Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.