Sharapova and Kerber back in action

Antonio Arenas Mutua News

The courts of the Mutua Madrid Open will be replete with big-name players on Monday. The Manolo Santana centre court, which opens its doors at midday, will be graced by the top two seeds in the women’s draw, number 1 Angelique Kerber and number 2 Karolina Pliskova. There will also be another all-star clash in the first match of the night session as the 2014 champion, Maria Sharapova, takes on Eugenie Bouchard. Other famous names from the Spanish Armada, such as David Ferrer and Feliciano López, will also be competing.

Pliskova opens the day against Anastasija Sevastova as she bids to improve on her best result on the Madrid clay. It will be their first meeting on the surface and their head-to-head is tied after two previous matches in Nottingham (grass) and Moscow (hard court). Next Kerber, who is guaranteed the top spot of the WTA ranking next week, will attempt to continue her streak against Czech player Katerina Siniakova, while Maria Sharapova takes on Eugenie Bouchard, who has lost to the Russian four times out of four since their first meeting in Miami in 2013.

Monday’s order of play also includes some big players from the men’s competition, such as David Ferrer, who has at least reached the quarter-finals in six of his eight participations (since 2009). The Alicante native faces Mikhail Kukushkin for the seventh time in his career as he tries to maintain the form that recently took him to the semi-finals in Estoril. For his part, Feliciano López is charged with closing the session in the Manolo Santana Stadium against young US player Ernesto Escobedo.

The Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Stadium will play host to the only two Spanish women still in the Mutua Madrid Open. Tolosa native Lara Arruabarrena will meet the Czech Barbora Strycova in the fourth match of the day and Canary Islander Carla Suárez will take on number 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki not before 21:30. Before them, the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova will be bidding to progress against Alison Riske.

Among the ATP seeds, number 12 Grigor Dimitrov faces a tough opponent in Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Stadium. Immediately afterwards the 15th seed, Gael Monfils, will take on fellow Frenchman and 2008 Mutua Madrid Open runner-up, Gilles Simon. 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga squares off against a player who came through qualifying, Andrey Kuznetsov, while number 11 seed Tomas Berdych will do the same in Stadium 3 against another qualifier, Denis Istomin. Finally, 16th seed Nick Kyrgios will take on Marcos Baghdatis.