Karolina is still going strong at the Mutua Madrid Open. The Czech player saw off Sloane Stephens, one of the best players on tour, in a little over one hour of play. The effort required to get past Victoria Azarenka in an extremely tough second-round clash that continued late into last night seemed to have taken no toll. Quite the opposite in fact, the sixth seed played quality tennis from start to finish and gave no chance to the reigning champion of the US Open and Miami, who struggled with her serve (55% of points won on the first).
She now faces Simona Halep as she bids for a place in the semi-finals. The defending champion of the Mutua Madrid Open and number one in the WTA rankings looks unstoppable as she cruises through the rounds towards what would be her third consecutive title on the Madrid clay at a venue she seems to have fallen in love with. The Romanian has stated, on more than one occasion, that she feels at home in the Caja Mágica, in a tournament that seems tailor made for her. She always finds her best tennis here and enjoys the support of a large number of fans in the stands and that of her family who are with her this week in the Spanish capital.
The two-time champion of the tournament reached the quarters after beating Kristyna Pliskova 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and fifteen minutes of play, she has reached the last eight without losing a single set and has now notched up 15 consecutive victories at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Petra Kvitova also progressed to the quarters after a comeback against Anett Kontaveit in a tough match that lasted two hours and 15 minutes. Kvitova, who has won the Mutua Madrid Open twice, lost the first set in a tiebreak but managed to turn it around by recovering her serve to take the next two sets 6-3. In the next round she will meet Daria Kasatkina, who beat Garbiñe Muguruza 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. For her part, Caroline Garcia sealed her pass to the quarters by defeating Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-4 and will now face Carla Suárez in a battle for a place in the semis.
In one of the matches of the day, Maria Sharapova saw off Kristina Mladenovic in two sets, 6-3, 6-4. The 2014 champion is having a great tournament so far and seems to be playing her best tennis again. Having seen off last year’s finalist, the Russian now faces Kiki Bertens.
The Dutch player produced the upset of the day by beating Caroline Wozniacki, the tournament’s second seed, with ease (6-2, 6-2) in just one hour of play. Bertens reached the third round by beating Anastasija Sevastova, another top-20 player and managed to defeat the Dane having lost to her in all three previous meetings, the last at the Australian Open. This time it was a different story and the world number 20 notched up her first win over Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open.