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Badosa on Facing Gauff and Madrid Expectations

Paula Badosa has kissed the clay of Madrid in the past.

In her Madrid return, the 26th-seeded Spaniard aims to embrace challenges.

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Hearing the cheers from home fans, Badosa edged Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a Mutua Madrid Open Saturday showdown vs. sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff.

Badosa overcame 10 double faults today in a tense two hour, 30-minute victory and aims to play first-strike tennis vs. Roland Garros runner-up Gauff.

"Against Coco, we played a few times. Yeah, big server, aggressive, very good backhand, one of the best backhands in the world," said Badosa, who owns a 2-1 record against Gauff. "She's very physical, but I think it's a very tactical match. She plays good on clay. She did French Open final last year.

"But I like these kind of matches. I know it's a challenge, and I'm really looking forward to play against her as well with my home crowd."

Tennis Express

Two years ago, Badosa kissed the clay commemorating her historic run as the first Spanish woman to reach the Madrid semifinals.


A post shared by #MMOPEN (@mutuamadridopen)

Playing in front of home fans can be both uplifting and unsettling for Badosa, who concedes Madrid is one of her toughest tournaments.

"Yeah, it's much easier to play anywhere else than here, but it's something that I already try to be prepared," Badosa told the media in Madrid. "Well, maybe I didn't play my best the last years, but one of the years I played really well here. I could adapt myself and my game and everything. I hope this year can be the same.

"But, yeah, it's always a challenge to play here in Madrid."

Photo credit: Mutua Madrid Open Facebook