If you followed the WPT SEASON last year, you will know that not only did this amazing pairing end the season by winning the Estrella Damm Masters in Barcelona, but also ended the season as the number ones for the second consecutive year as well as winning a record breaking 12 titles!!!
Let’s start from the beginning….
The tour could not have started better for this partnership, as they reached the finals of the first five events (Miami, Reus, Vigo, Alicante, and Brussels), winning 4. It rapidly became clear who their main adversaries would be, as 4 of the finals were against the same pairing- Ari Sánchez (Spain) / Paula Josemaría (Spain). It was not until Brussels that they faced different opponents in the final – Llaguno (Spain) / Riera (Argentina). Here, their usual rivals had been defeated in the round of 8 at the hands of Carnicero (Spain) / Martínez (Spain).
Having maintained such high standards week after week, a slight drop was understandable, and that moment arrived in May at the Danish open where the world number ones were knocked – out in the semis by another strong pairing, Marta Ortega (Spain) / Bea González (Spain) (who then went on to win the final) in straight sets 1-6 4-6.
At the following event, the Marbella Master, things didn’t get any better, as they crashed out in the quarter-final against Talaván (Spain) / Araújo (Portugal) 5-7 6-4 2-6. Triay mentioned there were moments where she felt a slight drop in confidence.
Now in June, it was time for the Vienna padel open 2022. Things seemed to be back on track as the‘’Triazar team’’ stormed through to the final without losing a set! There, once again, they faced their Nemesis, Sánchez / Josemaría. As tended to be the case, it was another ruthless battle, impossible to predict the outcome as it was neck -and -neck most of the time throughout the match, until the final break came in the 8th game of the 3rd set, leaving Josemaría to serve out the match.
After Viena, ‘’Triazar’’ hit another successful run of form, racking up 3 titles in succession -the Human French Open, Valladolid (Zamora) and Valencia. Defeating Sánchez /Josemaría in the first two, and beating Brea / Icardo (who eliminated Sánchez / Josemaría in 3 sets in semis) in a tightly fought match, only just coming through 7-6 in the final set. This win gave the pairing 7 titles since the beginning of the year, drawing them closer to the record number of titles in any one year, held by the ‘’atomic twins’’ , Mapi and Majo Sánchez Alayeto (Spain), who achieved this goal in 2017 by winning a total of 9 events.
Following Valencia, the pairing hit a title ‘’drought’’ . In Málaga, they got their revenge on Ortega / González, in semis to reach their 10th final of the year, but failed to win the title as Ari Sánchez / Paula Josemaría were on fine form and took them down in an unusually comfortable straight set match, 3-6 3-6.
They then followed on to lose in Cascais (Portugal) in semis to a pairing who had already caused them headaches earlier in the season – Ortega / González. It was a nail-biting match that came right down to the final set tie-break. The match clearly took its toll physically on Ortega / Gónzalez as both seemed to struggle the next day in the final, and ended up retiring early in the second set due to an injured Bea Gónzalez.
At the Swedish Padel Open, it was ‘’dejá vú’’ as they faced another final against Sánchez / Josemaría. It was their 9th meeting that season and the quickest – The girl from Reus Ari Sánchez and Cáceres born Paula Josemaría could not put a foot wrong, the match was over in just one hour and 15 minutes. It was clear the world number 2’s had their sights on gaining the number 1 position.
In the Estrella Damm Madrid Master, the duo came across Talaván / Araújo in the round of 8, it was the story of Marbella repeating itself – an early exit from the same adversaries.
But it was the loss in the quarter-finals at the Amsterdam open to the world number 4’s, Llaguno / Riera, along with the consistency of Sánchez / Josemaría, who had reached at least the semis of the previous ten tour events, that lost the world number ones their top ranking position.
This only served to re-ignite the pair…
They proceeded to win the following 4 tour events (Santander, Menorca, Malmö, and Mexico) in the run-up to the Estrella Damm Barcelona Master Final 2022, and not only did they equalize the record number of titles won in a year after their victory in Menorca, but with their win in Malmö broke that record with Mexico and the Barcelona Master still to come.
WPT MASTER FINAL – BARCELONA 2022
Fresh from victory at the end of November in Mexico, ”Triazar” arrived in Barcelona knowing that one more title would guarantee the world number one spot. With a straightforward quarter-final win, 6-0 6-3 against Las Heras (Spain) / Virseda (Spain), they progressed to the semis where the opponents, Ortega / González would prove tougher opposition. Nonetheless, ”Triazar” rose to the challenge with a straight set win, 6-4 7-5.
Arguably, it was probably the final the crowd were hoping for: Salazar / Triay Vs Sánchez / Josemaría. For the first time ever, not only was the Masters title in play, but also the end of season world number one ranking.
It did not get off to the ideal start for Salazar / Triay losing the first set 3-6. However, they fought back to win a very close second set 6-4. Now, with the scores level, the crowd were anticipating an exciting 3rd set… and they were not disappointed! For the Salazar / Triay fans, it was a concerning start to the final set, going 0-3 and two breaks down. But, the match was far from over, and they clawed their way back to claim the set (6-4), the match, the title, and the world number one ranking!!!
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