ABU DHABIi, U.A.E. -- Day 3 was a banner day for Spain at the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open, which saw Sara Sorribes Tormo grind through 3 hours and 23 minutes of physical tennis to upend Bernarda Pera and book her spot in the Round of 16. Hours later, her compatriot Paula Badosa joined her, backing up a tough opening win over Anastasia Sevastova with a solid display to defeat Alizé Cornet.
Both Sorribes Tormo and Badosa finished their 2020 seasons on a high note. Sorribes Tormo tallied a big win over Anett Kontaveit en route to the quarterfinals in Ostrava, and was 6-0, 4-0 up on Aryna Sabalenka before the eventual champion stormed back to win. The 24-year-old may nor favor the quicker conditions this week in Abu Dhabi, she opened her tournament with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska.
Against American Bernarda Pera, Sorribes Tormo needed time to find an effective gameplan against the left-hander, but battled for over three hours to earn a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win.
"I'm really happy and proud about my attitude," Sorribes Tormo said after the match. "I think I started playing not so well, I started feeling a bit worried on court because of the wind and it's a fast court."
Sorribes Tormo was so dialed into the match she had no idea how long she had been on court.
"I was focused only on what I have to do," Sorribes Tormo said. "I wasn't thinking oh, I have played many points. I would just play and just play and at some point I was sitting at the changeover and I say, oh, it's been already three hours. You don't even think about that. You just play one point, another point, one point, another point.
"You just try to think you are ready to play three, four hours because you came from a good pre-season and you worked for that.
"You just play every point, you just try to fight for every ball. That's the way I play tennis because I really like to play like this. I really enjoy playing tennis like this and this is how I like to stay on court. I'm happy to play many points and win the last one."
Badosa's 2020 season was highlighted by a run to the Istanbul semifinal and her first Round of 16 appearance at a Slam at Roland Garros. In Paris, Badosa defeated two major champions in Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko before bowing out to Laura Siegemund. Her late-season success proved to be a big boost to the 23-year-old as she headed into her pre-season.
"For sure that helped me a lot with my confidence," Badosa said. "I did a very good pre-season. I think it was the best one of my career. Now I think I'm prepared to play every single match, tough ones, and recover good for the next ones. I think I made a step forward."
Riding a solid line between baseline aggression and defense, Badosa played a physical, composed match to defeat Cornet in straight sets. The Spanish talent has always been one to watch, but Badosa has only recently been able to set aside the expectations and pressure and evolve into her own player in control of her own career. Currently ranked No.70, 2020 is looking prime to be a season for the 23-year-old to make an impact.
"My goals are I would like to play Olympics, I would like to do very good at the Slams, and my ranking I want it to be higher, every day even more," Badosa said. "So I'm quite ambitious. I don't know which is my goal, maybe Top 50, Top 30, Top 20. I don't want to put a number and see how it goes. I will work to be better every day."
Badosa will face Veronika Kudermetova next. The Russian has looked sharp in her opening two matches, defeating No.10 seed Anett Kontaveit and Italian qualifier Bianca Turati in straight sets.
For a full preview of Saturday's Order of Play in Abu Dhabi, click here.