WTA Budapest final preview: Timea Babos vs Lucie Safarova

WTA Budapest final preview: Timea Babos vs Lucie Safarova

In the first edition of the event, the final is between the homestanding Hungarian and second-seeded Czech.

john-lupo
John Lupo

Top seed Timea Babos takes on second seed Lucie Safarova in the final of the Hungarian Ladies Open. Babos will be aiming for her second career title while Safarova seeks her eighth.

Babos' path to the final

The top seed has lost just one set in her four matches leading into the championship match. In round one, she defeated Ipek Soylu 6-3, 6-2, followed by a second round victory over Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova by the same 6-3, 6-2 scoreline.

The quarterfinal win over seventh seed Oceane Dodin saw the Hungarian drop her only set of the tournament, winning 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. The semifinals saw Babos defeat third seed Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-1 to reach the final.

Safarova's path to the final

The second seed was nearly eliminated in the first round, barely scraping by Poland's Magda Linette 6-0, 5-7, 7-6 (4). Following that scare, she beat Su-wei Hsieh by a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 scoreline.

The quarterfinals saw a victory over qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 7-5, followed by a semifinal triumph over German Carina Witthoeft 6-4, 6-3.

Head-to-head

Safarova has won both previous meetings against Babos, a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) win in the second round of Eastbourne in 2012 and a 6-4, 7-5 victory in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open.

Who will win the championship?

It's been a special week for Babos as she is the top seed in a tournament in her home country that is returning to the WTA Tour calendar for the first time since 2013. She's looked every bit the top seed and has dealt with all the pressure that comes with playing in her native Hungary.

Safarova has quietly gone about her business after the scare against Linette and is poised to win her first trophy since taking Prague last spring. She will be up against the crowd and an in-form Babos, making her task all the more difficult.

Both players hit the ball hard and that has been helped by the quick conditions on the indoor hard courts. At this stage in their careers, Babos has the more reliable serve and is gaining in confidence, picking up her first four match wins on the year.

Despite the lifetime 0-2 record and all the difficulties of playing a lefty of Safarova's talent, it seems like it's destiny for Babos to win this event in her home country and she will not be denied, picking up her second career Tour title.

Prediction: Babos in straight sets

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