One of the biggest tournaments before the start of Roland Garros and one of the most important stops for the year in women’s tennis , Mutua Madrid Open is already here. Comparative new, from 2009, quickly gaining popularity among the big names in tennis and attracts the attention of fans all over the world. No doubt – the third Premier Mandatory event of the season will offer solid battles on the red clay!
Unfortunately, after the withdraw of the world number 1 Serena Williams minutes before the start of draw ceremony, first seeded will be Agnieszka Radwanska. Former 2-time champion in Madrid and last year semifinalist, Serena retreat to the polish the leading position in the scheme.
With solid results in all tournaments she played from the start of 2016, Radwanska is always one of the most consistent player in the tour. Aga is owner of one title – in Shenzhen and reached semifinals in 5 of the 6 tournaments she played so far this season. As seeded as number 1, will she affect the voltage or she will find her game and go far in the tournament? We will see.
Aga’s first opponent will be Dominika Cibulkova. These two met recently, in Indian Wells,and Radwanska won in three sets hard battle. The Slovak, who won the Agnieszka’s home country tournament in Katowice, is going to be a very difficult opponent in first round. Very tough draw for the first seed continue with second round match against Johanna Konta or Caroline Garcia. Semifinalist in Australian open and quarterfinalist in Miami, Konta plays her best tennis this year. Garcia didn’t reach good results in singles this year, but she won 9 consecutive matches in doubles with her partner Mladenovic and they made important final win in doubles for the French team in Fed cup. First seed player that Aga could face is 15th seed Sara Errani. The Italian is Dubai champion and semifinalist in Charleston a few weeks ago. On the Errani road stands her compatriot Camila Giorgi in first round, who reach final in Katowice this month.
Closest player from the top 10 to Radwanska in the draw is Roberta Vinci. After a strong finish of 2015, the italian won one title this season – in the newest tournament in St. Petersburg, but didn’t reach very good results in the other important tournaments . Vinci’s first round opponent is Danka Kovinic, who played her second WTA final last week in Istanbul . In the Second round her possible opponent might be former number one Jelena Jankovic, but she didn’t reached the quarterfinals in any tournament she played this year. In this part of the draw we see one clay courter – Svetlana Kuznetsova, which is last year finalist in Madrid. Finalist in Miami a month ago and Sydney champion, the Russian is always dangerous and strong for all the top players. Vinci and Kuznetsova could face in third round, and the winner of the battle will possible play Radwanska in quarters.
In the second part of the top half is positioned Miami and Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka. Seeded as number 4, the Belarusian made amazing progress from the start of the year – from 22nd in January, she is 5th in April. The former number one, which is 2-time finalist in Madrid, starts this year competition with pursued by injuries Laura Robson, possible second round battle against Cornet or Badosa and third round – Ana Ivanovic. Vika and Ana, both Grand Slam champions and former number ones in women’s tennis can make a great battle so early in the tournament. The Serbian lost early in last competitions she played, but on her favorite surface she is always dangerous and motivated for another patch of good results. Adding that the clay is not quite favorite for Azarenka, it becomes even more interesting.
Seeded as number 5 and 2-time Madrid champion, including last year is Petra Kvitova. The Czech is experiencing serious difficulties so far this season, but undoubtedly this tournament is one of her favorites and she will be highly motivated to defend her title. In this important tournament for Kvitova, her way start with Spanish Lara Arruabarrena, possible second round against qualifier or the young Latvian Jelena Ostapenko. In third, the champion could face another young player – Elina Svitolina, seeded as number 12 and the Kuala Lumpur champion. If she reaches the quarterfinals, she might face Azarenka or Ivanovic, and this make second half of top of the draw even more unpredictable. Whether Azarenka will continue great performances this year or Kvitova will find her strong shots and will be able to go forward, we will see.
Top seed in bottom half is the Australian open champion Angelique Kerber. After winning the most important tournament since the beginning of 2016, Kerber is stable in other competitions. The German won last week’s home tournament in Stuttgart with good results in all matches and she is absolutely heat up for Madrid. Angie’s first round is against the Czech Barbora Strycova. She played this week in Prague, but lost in three set battle against Stosur. Two weeks ago Strycova scored important win for Czech republic in Fed cup and helped the team to reach the final and not last but not leasr, she is the Dubai finalist. In the Second round Kerber’s potential opponent might be Madison Keys and in third – Sloane Stephens or young Russian Darya Kasatkina, who made amazing progress last months. Stephens, the 16th seed, is one of 2 players this year, which already won 3 titles. She is the champion in Auckland, Acapulco and Charleston. Winning the title in every tournament she won at least one match, Stephens looks in good form for the second big clay competition.
Possible quarterfinal in the first half of bottom of the draw is Kerber – Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spanish, 8th seed this year, is the Doha champion and last week Stuttgart quarterfinalist, where she lost from future champion Angelique Kerber. Suarez Navarro starts with Timea Babos, who is in the semis in Rabat this week. Possible second round could oppose Carla with big server Sabine Lisicki. The German seems to be in big drop this year, so she already has 8 losses and only 5 wins. In third round second high-ranked Spanish might face two semifinalist in this week tournament in Prague – Stosur or 11th seed Safarova. Both Roland Garros runners-up could make meeting this week in Czech and a few days later – in Madrid.
Third seed and the highest rank Spanish player is Garbine Muguruza. With a very strong finish of 2015, Garbine reached only 2 quarterfinals this season, but one of them was last week in Stuttgart. In her match against Petra Kvitova she reached a third set, but unfortunately she lost it with bagel. In Madrid, the Spanish hasn’t passed the second round from 3 tries, so this week is time for a good performance in front of her home crowd and enters deep into the tournament. Garbine’s way start with Slovak Schmiedlova, after that Bouchard or Begu. The first seeded player she could meet is the 13th Karolina Pliskova. The Czech is another player which played this week in Prague, but lost in the semis to Safarova. Indian Wells semifinalist, Pliskova also didn’t pass second round in her appearances in Madrid, so this part of the draw gather two players who search first good performance in the Spanish capital.
Last possible quarterfinal could be between Muguruza and Halep. The Romanian is the 6th seed and hasn’t had a particularly good results this season. She is the quarterfinalist in the last two Premier Mandatory events, but lost in first round in the Australian open as a second seed player. 2014 finalist, Halep starts with first round match against japanese Misaki Doi, second round possible opponent Knapp or Gasparyan. Most closely seeded player is Timea Bazcinsky. The Swiss is in the semis this week in Rabat and looks in good shape after a slow start of the season. First match for her will be against Andrea Petkovic and possible second against Annika Beck or Ekaterina Makarova.
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