Alejandra Salazar and Sofia Araujo: Why all top players should be on notice

Alejandra Salazar and Sofia Araujo: Why all top players should be on notice

Alejandra Salazar and Sofia Araujo have joined forces, and should be ready to disrupt the order at the top of the rankings.

29-08-2023

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Salazar has been sidelined with a forearm injury for almost three months. The Madrid-born player has not competed since the Cervezas Victoria Marbella Master, where she and Gemma Triay were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Triay turned to Marta Ortega while Salazar recovered, but made that switch permanent during the summer, leaving Salazar without a partner. Araujo, one of 2023's break-out stars, could prove the perfect compliment to 37-year-old Salazar.

Araujo has beaten Salazar twice in 2022 and taken her to three sets multiple times in the current campaign, showing she is up to the task of competing with the creme of the crop. Below, we detail both players' careers!

Also read: All Hail The Queens: A look back at the Salazar-Triay era

Alejandra Salazar: Sustained greatness

Alejandra Salazar is the most successful player in women's World Padel Tour history, with 52 titles won from 84 finals. Outright, only Fernando Belasteguin has a higher number in both categories - 65 titles from 85 finals - which speaks volumes about the sustained dominance Salazar has been able to achieve.

Araujo will only be Salazar's fifth partner since 2013. Incredibly, the Spaniard has won at least five titles with each of her previous four team-mates, showing that she can adapt to different players and incredible consistency over the span of a decade.

She is also the only women's player to have featured in at least one final in every single World Padel Tour season. She has won a title in every year except 2017, when she suffered a season-ending injury in the Valladolid Open final.

History and statistics tell us that Alejandra Salazar is a winner. A player who always fights at the very top of the rankings. And with Sofia Araujo's recent rise, she might have found an ideal sparring partner to get back on top of the rankings.

Sofia Araujo: Putting the cat among the pigeons

2023 has unquestionably been Sofia Araujo's break-out season in World Padel Tour. Prior to this year, she made waves when making the Danish Padel Open final in 2022 with Mapi Sanchez Alayeto. Despite some other highlights - including two shock wins against Salazar and Gemma Triay - Araujo could not establish herself at the top.

Copenhagen was her first - and only - semi-final since 2020 when playing with Virginia Riera, qualifying for the Master Final that year. She had two semi-finals to her name prior to 2023. Halfway through the year, she has already made seven more, winning the Alicante Open 500 along the way.

Currently 11th, Araujo has been as high as tenth in the ranking this year, her highest position ever, and her rise to prominence has been noticed by the three-time number one Salazar.

While Araujo will be Salazar's fifth partner since the start of World Padel Tour, Salazar will be Araujo's sixth team-mate in the last 12 months. In the richest vein of form of her career, now might be the time for Sofia Araujo to start winning titles, and be the cat among the pigeons in the established top of women's padel.

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