The favourites deliver in the women’s draw

Antonio Arenas Mutua News

It was a thrilling day of high-quality tennis in the second round of the women’s draw. Monday saw some of the strongest players take to the courts for the first time and they all produced and will continue on their way to the title.

Caroline García opened the day’s play in the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario Stadium against Petra Martic. The French player and seventh seed won her ticket to the next round in one and a half hours by beating the Croat in two sets (6-3, 7-5). The 24 year old will be happy to have redeemed herself after bowing out in the first round last year in Madrid. Now, in search of a place in the quarters, she will clash with Julia Gorges who came back to beat Lara Arruabarrena.

For her part, world number two Caroline Wozniacki beat Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in a tough match against the Australian world number 18, who managed to keep the match alive for two hours. In the third round she will meet Kiki Bertens, who cruised past Anastasija Sevastova.

Maria Sharapova also stamped her pass to the third round in an hour and a half of play by overcoming Irina-Camelia Begu. The Romanian came into the match in a confident mood after knocking out Jelena Ostapenko, one of the favourites, in the first round. However, the Russian 2014 Mutua Madrid Open champion did not give her opponent a look in and after taking the first set 7-5 she closed with a stunning 6-1 in the second.

In the next round, as she bids for a place among the top eight, she will meet Kristina Mladenovic. The French player had to work much harder to get past the Chinese Zhang Shuai in a match that lasted nearly two hours (6-4, 4-6, 6-3). The last time Sharapova and Mladenovic met was in Stuttgart in 2017, when the latter came back against the ex-world number one to take the match. Sloane Stephens also made easy work of her tie against Stosur and will meet Pliskova in the next round.