Though a healthy social life can ease the burden of a grueling tour schedule, it can undoubtedly complicate matches if friendly emotions enter the fray.

Few have proven better at balancing professional and personal than reigning BNP Paribas Open champion Paula Badosa, who faced off childhood friend Sara Sorribes Tormo, 7-6 (4), 6-1, to maintain her WTA 1000 title defense into the fourth round.

“Of course, it's never easy to play a friend,” Badosa said in press. “But in that moment, I don't think she's my friend on court. I know how to separate things.”

Badosa has boasted a great number of friends on tour, including Ons Jabeur and Marta Kostyuk. Badosa overcame Jabeur last fall in the BNP Paribas Open semifinals, and Kostyuk just two months ago at the Australian Open—where the two engaged in a lengthy post-match chat at net.

“She told me that if I keep playing like this, I could do a very good result here,” the former world No. 4 recalled. “I said she played amazing, that she could play a little bit less today because it was very tough! That's what we were joking.”

Badosa goes back farthest with Sorribes Tormo, who is just a year older and enjoyed a breakout 2021 of her own, earning a career-high ranking of No. 32 last month.

“We know each other very well. Before I was already hitting she already was in the spot!”


Badosa and Sorribes Tormo shared an Olympic dream last summer, pushing eventual gold medalists Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova to a match tiebreaker in women’s doubles. When Badosa split with her coach Javier Martí a month later, Sorribes Tormo stepped in to help coach her to a quarterfinal finish in Cincinnati.

“She’s like my sister, and she knows me very well, since we were about 10 years old,” she said at the time. “We have so many memories together and now get to do the thing we love most, which is to play tennis together. We’ve spent most of our lives together, so it’s amazing to be on court playing doubles with her, as well. I enjoy being by her side.”

The two exchanged six straight breaks to start their match on Monday before Badosa got the upper hand in the tiebreaker, riding the momentum through a two-hour victory.

“When I saw her level of tennis today, I feel sad because maybe she doesn't deserve to lose today because she was playing very good. But it goes like this.”

Badosa will next face US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez for a chance to return to the quarterfinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.