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WTA Ladies Tennis From Madrid • Muguruza, Halep, Kvitova Headline Another Great Day in The Magic Box

The biggest lead-up to the French Open on the Road to Roland Garros is underway and the Mutua Madrid Open is nearing the end of the second round. After three blockbuster days at the Caja Magica, home hope Garbine Muguruza, two-time defending champion Simona Halep, and two-time former winner Petra Kvitova all return to the Madrid clay for interesting second round matchups.

It’s another big day on the Spanish dirt and here are the four matches to watch Tuesday:

Simona Halep vs. Elise Mertens

The match of the day in Madrid features two of the most intriguing WTA players of this clay-court season, with two-time champion Halep facing Belgian Elise Mertens, who has already won two titles on the dirt in 2018. There is no tournament world number one Halep feels more at home at than Madrid, where her Romanian connections run strong, and she has won the last two years at the Caja Magica. 22 year-old Mertens has been a fast rising star this season, making the Australian Open semifinals and on clay this season she has already won titles in Lugano and Rabat ahead of Madrid.

While top-seeded Halep will come in full of confidence at the Caja Magica, Mertens is on an 11-match winning streak and her big-hitting game can do damage to the Romanian. Halep will have the pedigree and fight to come through, but not without a test from one of the hottest players on tour at the moment.

Prediction: Halep in three sets

Editors Note • Mertens

Garbine Muguruza vs. Donna Vekic

Spanish home hopes on the women’s side will be back on two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza Tuesday, with the third seed hoping to make a deep run at her home tournament for the first time. The defending Wimbledon champion should fare well on the faster clay of the Spanish capital and if she can use her powerful game, she will be tough to stop this week. Young Croatian Donna Vekic has big-stage experience and a solid game to trouble Muguruza, but if the Spanish star is on top of her game she should advance in routine fashion.

Prediction: Muguruza in straight sets

Editors Note : Vekic

Petra Kvitova vs. Monica Puig

When talking about the hottest players on the WTA at the moment, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova tops the list with her three titles already in 2018. The big-hitting Czech battled last week in Prague to a title at home and after coming immediately to Madrid, the two-time champion at the Caja Magica is looking in the same sublime form she displayed in Prague after a dominant first round victory over Lesia Tsurenko. The faster clay-court conditions of Madrid work to Kvitova’s advantage and despite a dangerous opponent across the net in Rio 2016 gold medalist Monica Puig, it’s hard to see the Czech’s tear through 2018 stopping Tuesday.

Prediction: Kvitova in straight sets

Editors Note : Puig

Sorana Cirstea vs. Daria Kasatkina

An under the radar but fascinating matchup on Madrid’s outer courts, the contrast in styles between powerful Romanian Cirstea and crafty Kasatkina will be a treat for fans. After an incredible two months in February and March that saw Kasatkina reach finals in Dubai and Indian Wells, the young Russian has struggled for form, losing her last three matches since a quarterfinal run on the green clay of Charleston.

Kasatkina’s crafty game and variety plus superb defense skills lends itself to clay, however the Madrid magic seems to help Romanians in the Spanish capital. A quarterfinalist the last two years at the Caja Magica, Cirstea’s big-hitting game loves the faster, altitude conditions of Madrid and expect the dangerous Romanian to continue Kasatkina’s slide in form.

Prediction: Cirstea in straight sets

Editors Note : CIRSTEA

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