Players discover their fates in the Caja Mágica

Antonio Arenas Mutua News, Women's Tennis

Pending the completion of the qualifying rounds for the women’s competition, where 12 players will earn themselves a place in the final draw of the WTA 1000, the 16 seeds now know the path they will have to tread to reach the final of the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open. The draw was made by Tony Cho, the WTA supervisor, and tournament director Feliciano López. They were joined by Spaniard Sara Sorribes, who will be playing in the Caja Mágica as a wildcard.

In the top half of the draw, Ashleigh Barty is fortunate to have two potential clashes with qualifiers. First though, the world No. 1 will have to get past Shelby Rogers, No. 43 in the WTA ranking, in the first round. The Australian is joined in her part of the draw by a number of well-respected players. Ukrainian Elina Svitolina will face Swiss player Jil Teichmann, while defending champion Kiki Bertens will take on Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, the Andorran wildcard who is just 15 years of age. For her part, propping up the top half, Belinda Bencic will play a qualifier.

The bottom half of the draw includes some of the most enticing first-round clashes. Naomi Osaka, the second seed, will have to wait for the end of the qualifying rounds to find out who her first-round opponent will be. Simona Halep, the runner-up at the last edition of the Madrid WTA 1000, will face Sara Sorribes, who was present at the draw. This section of the draw is packed with powerful players. While Aryna Sabalenka awaits an opponent from the qualies, Karolina Pliskova faces one of the toughest clashes in the first round against US player Cori Gauff, No. 35 in the WTA ranking.

As for the remaining seeds, the top half of the draw will see match ups between Iga Swiatek (14) and Alison Riske, Petra Kvitova (9) and Marie Bouzkova, Johanna Konta (15) and Yulia Putintseva; and Garbiñe Muguruza (10) against Sloane Stephens. In the bottom half, Victoria Azarenka (12) clashes with Ekaterina Alexandrova, Elise Mertens (13) takes on Shuai Zhang, Jennifer Brady (11) players Venus Williams; and Maria Sakkari (16) will square off against Amanda Anisimova.

This morning’s draw for the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open has thrown up some mouth-watering potential quarter-finals. If Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens, the world No. 1 and the defending champion, respectively, win all their matches, they will meet en route to the final. Another potential top-half clash is that of Elina Svitolina against Belinda Bencic. In the bottom half, Simona Halep, 2019’s runner-up, and Aryna Sabalenka could face one another in the quarters, where Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova may also meet.