Date: 23 April 2022.
Tournament: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2022.
Venue: Stuttgart, Germany.
Category: WTA 500.
Prize money: $757,900.
Match timing: Not before 2 pm local time, 12 pm GMT, 8 am ET, 5:30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video.
Paula Badosa vs Aryna Sabalenka preview
World No. 3 Paula Badosa will take on 2021 Stuttgart finalist Aryna Sabalenka in an exciting semifinal showdown on Saturday at the 2022 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Badosa commenced her clay season at the Charleston Open in early April. She lost in three sets against eventual champion Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard received a first-round bye in Stuttgart. She took on World No. 19 Elena Rybakina in the second round and defeated her in a nervy match.
Badosa lost serve while trying to close the first set, but broke Rybakina's serve in the next game to clinch the opener. She trailed 0-4 in the second set, but clawed her way back into the match to level the score at 4-4. However, Rybakina won the next two games to claim the set.
The World No. 3 led 4-1 in the deciding set, but relinquished that lead. Badosa then needed three match points in the tie-break to eventually complete a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4) victory.
She faced off against Ons Jabeur in the semifinals. Badosa won a tough opening set, but lost the second set quite tamely. Both players had their chances in the final set, with the Spaniard ultimately edging the World No. 10 to win 7-6 (9), 1-6, 6-3.
By reaching the semifinals, Badosa will be the new World No. 2 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Aryna Sabalenka also started her clay season at the Charleston Open, where she lost in the third round to Amanda Anisimova. In Stuttgart, she was the recipient of a first-round bye.
Sabalenka took on 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the second round. The Canadian, who is on the comeback trail, played quite well despite her lengthy absence from the tour. However, the Belarusian eventually triumphed in three sets.
Sabalenka then faced off against Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals. This was yet another three-set encounter, but despite a second set stumble, her level never really dropped by much. The World No. 4 won 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to progress into the last four.
With the win, Sabalenka also ended Kontaveit's 22-match winning streak in indoor tournaments.
Paula Badosa vs Aryna Sabalenka head-to-head
Badosa leads Sabalenka 2-0 in the head-to-head. She won their most recent encounter at the 2021 WTA Finals in straight sets.
Paula Badosa vs Aryna Sabalenka prediction
Both players have needed three sets so far to win their matches. Despite not being at their absolute best, they've found a way to get over the finish line somehow.
Sabalenka's form has been shaky for most of this season, but she has played some of her best tennis in Stuttgart. Her serve, which went from being an asset to a liability this year, is reliable and even quite good at times. She has pounded her groundstrokes and overpowered her opponents in recent weeks.
But Sabalenka has also displayed some finesse, as in her previous match where she hit some volleys and displayed her skills at the net. Adding more variety to her game will definitely yield some good results for her.
Badosa, meanwhile, has the ability to strike a good balance between playing defense and offense. In the deciding set of her previous match, the Spaniard dialed up her aggression and her proactiveness was rewarded.
Sabalenka is the bigger hitter between the two players, but Badosa has a more rounded game. The indoor conditions in Stuttgart are more conducive to the Belarusian's playing style.
The Spaniard has been the more consistent player this year. But with Sabalenka appearing to hit her stride once again, she could pull out a win to make consecutive finals in Stuttgart.
Prediction: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.