Azarenka advances to Round of 16 after Badosa retires

Playing flawless tennis from the baseline, Azarenka built a quick 4-0 lead before Badosa got on the board. Struggling physically, Badosa called the trainer at the 4-1 changeover to discuss her options but opted to play on.
Victoria Azarenka and Paula Badosa
Victoria Azarenka and Paula Badosa

GUADALAJARA: Former No 1 Victoria Azarenka advanced to the Round of 16 at the Guadalajara Open Akron after top seed Paula Badosa was forced to retire due to illness, here.

The 33-year-old Azarenka will face No 13 seed Madison Keys next.

Playing flawless tennis from the baseline, Azarenka built a quick 4-0 lead before Badosa got on the board. Struggling physically, Badosa called the trainer at the 4-1 changeover to discuss her options but opted to play on.

After Azarenka closed out the set with an ace at 6-2, Badosa retired due to illness on Wednesday night.

"You never want anybody to retire, we go out here to compete and do our best. It's really sad that Paula wasn't able to finish the match," Azarenka said on the court.

I hope she recovers quickly. I'm sure we're going to have a few more matches to play, so I'm looking forward to those," she added.

Despite the abbreviated match, Azarenka reveled in the notoriously raucous energy of the Guadalajara night sessions.

"I heard a lot of great things in Guadalajara from last year from the Finals, that the energy was really great.That's really what kind of motivates me the most to go out there and play, so that was really nice," she said.

Bidding to make her first WTA 1000 quarterfinal since her run to the 2021 Indian Wells final, Azarenka will face Keys on Thursday. The American advanced to the Round of 16 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. The victory kept Keys in contention for one of the three remaining spots at the WTA Finals.

"We haven't played in a while, so it's going to be a good match for both of us. Not expecting too many rallies there. So we'll see," Azarenka said.

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