SYDNEY, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Paula Badosa will head to the Australian Open high on confidence after beating French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 4-6 7-6(4) in the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic on Saturday.
World number nine Badosa, who also beat Krejcikova en route to clinching the Indian Wells title last year, sealed victory in two hours and 22 minutes.
The Spaniard sent down 12 aces on the way to claiming the third singles title of her career.
Both players broke serve early on in the contest before Badosa won three games in a row to take the opening set 6-3.
Krejcikova pushed hard early in the second set to break but was unable to hold her lead as Badosa rallied to level at 3-3.
The Czech persevered and was rewarded with a break in the ninth game, going on to erase Badosa’s advantage and take the match into a decider.
The pair once again traded early breaks in the third set but neither was able to establish a clear advantage and a tie-break was required.
It was Badosa who raised her game when it mattered, taking advantage of a missed forehand from Krejcikova to convert her second championship point.
“We both went to the limits today, so it’s not easy to lose a match like this,” Badosa said. “It’s an honour to see Barbora grow as a player and play against her.”
Both players are back in action on Monday, with Badosa taking on local hope Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round of the Australian Open, while Krejcikova will face Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )
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