Paula Badosa is only competing in the Madrid Open because of a wildcard. Now, the Spaniard is in the quarter-finals and closing in on her first-ever WTA title.

a woman hitting a ball with a racket on a court: Badosa © GiveMeSport Badosa

Born in New York, Badosa was raised in Barcelona and identifies as Spanish. Her idol growing up was Maria Sharapova and many have been quick to point out the similarities between the two in terms of play style.

Both are aggressive from the baseline, while Badosa also has an on-court grunt, for which Sharapova was synonymous.

The 23-year-old won the French Open girls’ singles title in 2015 and is clearly most comfortable on the clay surface, having reached the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.

This season, Badosa has risen through the rankings, reaching a career-high 62nd after making the semi-finals at the Charleston Open.

What a match! 🤩@paulabadosa is the first wildcard to reach the quarterfinals at the @MutuaMadridOpen since 2017! pic.twitter.com/BlxY6IdUl1

— wta (@WTA) May 3, 2021

This form has continued and despite relying on a wildcard to play in Madrid, Badosa has shown signs that she could be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Wins over Barbora Krejčíková and Jil Teichmann set up a clash with Anastasija Sevastova, where an energised crowd watched as Badosa recovered from a set down to clinch victory.

This fighting spirit and ability to rise to the occasion are qualities that can separate the best players from those who simply compete, and with home advantage on her side, there is a growing feeling that this week could turn into something truly special.

Next up is world number 12 Belinda Bencic. It will be a tough ask to beat the Swiss player, but Badosa has already proven she is capable of doing so. Last month, she defeated Bencic in Charleston and also got the better of Ashleigh Barty.

If Badosa does reach the semis, she could set up an enticing rematch against the world number one, who will face three-time Madrid Open champion Petra Kvitová in her quarter-final.

Paula Badosa 🇪🇸 this season :

SF in Lyon (l. to Tauson, eventual winner)

SF in Charleston (l. to Kudermetova, eventual winner) with a win over Barty

QF in Madrid, 1st masters 1000 in career

She’ll face Benčić tomorrow for a place in the SF ! pic.twitter.com/lsPKwQQUxv

— Tie Breaking News (@TennisAddict5) May 4, 2021

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