Simona Halep is through to the round of sixteen of the Mutua Madrid Open after beating Briton Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-1 in a little under an hour and a half of play. The two-time Madrid champion, who opened the day’s play in the Manolo Santana Stadium, was able to turn the match around after a strong start from Konta, who went 2-4 ahead in a first set that eventually went to the Romanian.
It was a different story in the second. Halep began to dominate the game and Konta was given no chance of fighting back. In the end, the tournament’s 3rd seed only gave away one game in the last set and will be feeling confident for the next round. Her rival in the last sixteen will be the Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova, whom she has never faced before on tour.
For her part, Kateryna Kozlova produced the upset of the day by defeating Czech player Karolina Pliskova. The Ukrainian, who came through qualifying to reach the Mutua Madrid Open main draw, came out on top of a close battle against the 5th seed, beating her 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium.
Another player who will not be in the next round is the German Angelique Kerber. The 4th seed in Madrid did not appear in the Manolo Santana Stadium today as planned due to an injury to her right ankle. After feeling a problem in training this morning, the German has decided not to risk her next few weeks. The news means that the Croatian Petra Martic will advance to the next round, where she will meet the winner of the clash between her compatriot Donna Vekic and the Czech Kristyna Pliskova.
Chinese player Saisai Zheng also sealed her passage to the last sixteen after having to dig deep against French player Alizé Cornet 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in a match that lasted over two and a half hours. Zheng will meet US player Sloane Stephens in the next round.
Despite Cornet’s defeat, French tennis will still have a representative in the last sixteen. Caroline Garcia defeated the Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 and will now take on three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova for a place in the quarters.
Elsewhere, in the match that opened the day on court 4, the Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich saw off Slovakian player Anna Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-2 in just seventy-five minutes of tennis. In the round of sixteen, Sasnovich will meet tournament favourite Naomi Osaka, who beat home player Sara Sorribes 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-0 in a well-fought match.