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WTA • Monday in Madrid • Tennis 10sBalls • VIKA, Sharapova, STEPHENS All Scheduled

Russia’s Maria Sharapova in action against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu during their second round match of the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at Caja Magica in Madrid, Spain, 07 May 2018. EPA-EFE/MARISCAL

 

 

After jam-packed order of plays over the weekend with every player in the Mutua Madrid Open women’s draw taking to the courts, the action at the Caja Magica really heats up Monday. As second round action begins in the Spanish capital, there are some fascinating matchups on the docket, with lots of contrasting styles going head to head on the clay of Madrid.

 

Here are the biggest and most interesting matches to keep an eye on Monday in Madrid:

 

Victoria Azarenka vs. Karolina Pliskova

Playing in her first clay-court event of the season, Azarenka got her Madrid campaign off to a winning start Sunday with a straight-sets win over crafty Serbian Aleksandra Krunic. However, playing in her first tournament since a run to the semifinals of Miami and only her third of 2018, the Belarusian faces a much tougher task in round two against the woman she beat in the Miami last eight, recently-crowned Stuttgart champion Karolina Pliskova. The dirt has never been Azarenka’s best surface and the faster conditions of Madrid should help the Czech’s powerful game.

Prediction: Pliskova in three sets

Editors prediction: Vika

 

Sloane Stephens vs. Samantha Stosur

Another fascinating contrast in styles, Stephens and Stosur are both two players where you never quite know what you’ll get on the day. Defending US Open champion Stephens has been up-and-down since her maiden major triumph and has enjoyed limited success in 2018 past her Miami title to end March. Stosur, a former US Open champion as well and a French Open runner-up, likes the conditions in Madrid’s altitude with her powerful, spin-heavy game and the veteran Aussie should grind the American down.

Prediction: Stosur in three sets

Editors prediction: Sloan in 2

 

Ashleigh Barty vs. Caroline Wozniacki

Bidding to regain the world number one ranking this week in Madrid, Wozniacki got off to a solid start in the first round and is looking to establish momentum on the clay, her worst surface. Barty, not a dirt specialist herself either, surprised former Roland Garros finalist Sara Errani in the opening round and will be a tough matchup for the Dane, but expect the reigning Australian Open champion to keep on going in Madrid.

Prediction: Wozniacki in straight sets

 

Maria Sharapova vs. Irina-Camelia Begu

Coming into Madrid on a four-match losing streak, Sharapova finally got back to winning ways for the first time since January with a comfortable victory over Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. In a tournament owned by Romanian great Ion Tiriac and with a two-time defending champion from Romania in Simona Halep, it’s no surprise Sharapova’s next test is another Romanian in Begu. Begu may have the Romanian-heavy crowd behind her, but expect Sharapova to keep improving and move on in Madrid.

Prediction: Sharapova in straight sets

 

In other second round action on Monday in the Spanish capital, home hope Lara Arruabarrena will take on 11th seed Julia Goerges, last year’s runner up Kristina Mladenovic faces Shuai Zhang, Charleston champion Kiki Bertens goes up against Anastasija Sevastova, and Caroline Garcia faces Petra Martic.

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