The clay court season is in full swing as we move onto the Madrid-Rome double header. Last week, Iga Swiatek won her fourth consecutive title in Stuttgart. An incredible feat! Swiatek would have been the heavy favourite for Madrid but she pulled out of the tournament this morning due to a shoulder injury. Wise move, in my opinion.
Madrid expanded to a ten day tournament last year with the bizarre Thursday start for the main draw. Never been a big fan of Madrid but it’s a quality draw from the get-go and I like the bulk of matches being over the weekend so I shant complain too much! Read on for draw takeaways and what to look out for…
The draw 🎇
First rounders 🔥
Aryna Sabalenka vs. Amanda Anisimova: Oof. The defending champ, Sabalenka will have to overturn a 0-3 H2H record against Anisimova just to reach the second round. The pair played recently in Charleston where Anisimova was more clutch than Sabalenka when it counted, rallying from a set down to win in three sets.
Paula Badosa vs. Veronika Kudermetova: Two of the most consistent performers on the tour in 2022. Badosa snapped her winless streak against Kudermetova in Indian Wells earlier this year. That was a great first set from what I remember. Many more eyes and rising expectation on the new world number two.
Maria Sakkari vs. Madison Keys: Another brutal first round opener. Sakkari 2-0 H2H and hasn’t dropped a set to Keys before. It’s not an inspiring match-up for me personally but it’s high calibre for sure.
Naomi Osaka vs. Anastasia Potapova: A deceptively tricky opener for Osaka against the in-form Potapova who is riding a nine match winning streak having won her first title in Istanbul as a qualifier and then through two qualifying rounds in Madrid.
Clara Tauson vs. Marta Kostyuk: A first time meeting and surely the first of many in their prospective careers. First competitive matches on clay in 2022 for both.
Potential matches to circle 🤞:
Paula Badosa vs. Simona Halep (R2): I couldn’t believe that Halep wasn’t seeded! To add to the intrigue it would be a ding ding ding first time meeting. If it happens, this would be a huge second round clash that would likely define the bottom half of the draw.
Danielle Collins vs. Bianca Andreescu (R2): Great to see Andreescu back who is a huge value add to the tour. I’d be down for this one in the second round.
Aryna Sabalenka/Amanda Anisimova vs. Liudmila Samsonova (R2): Helmets at the ready in these conditions.
Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Emma Raducanu (R3): Chances of it happening? Slim. Excited about the prospect? Of course.
Karolina Pliskova vs. Jelena Ostapenko (R3): While i’m not a fan of either Pliskova or Ostapenko, this match-up has always been pretty tasty.
Ons Jabeur vs. Belinda Bencic (R3): A Charleston final rematch? Yes please.
Every possible combination from the Sakkari vs. Pavs section (R3): Sakkari vs. Pavs, Sakkari vs. Osaka, Keys vs. Osaka, Kasatkina vs. Osaka, Pavs vs. Kasatkina. I mean it’s all good.
Fun facts 🤓
Monica Puig will play her first competitive match on the WTA tour since September 2020! Puig, who will play Danielle Collins in the first round, has played just three matches since October 2019 due to an elbow injury and more recently a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Karolina Muchova and Bianca Andreescu will all play just their second WTA event of 2022. Pavs hasn’t played since the Australian Open.
Petra Kvitova is the most successful player in Madrid having won the tournament three times. Going for the quadruple feat, Kvitova’s draw looks more favourable than it did yesterday with Swiatek (a potential second round opponent) now being replaced by Fernandez. Still tough!
QF Predictions 🏵️
Fernandez vs. Tauson
Sakkari vs. Pegula
Ostapenko vs. Anisimova
Bencic vs. Badosa
I tend to think Madrid is going to be a mess and draw carnage will ensue. Well, at least my draw! I’ve barely had Jelena Ostapenko winning a match in my draws this year so it makes a lot of sense that i’ve picked her as my champ for Madrid. Ostapenko is riding a three match losing streak and i’ve just realised she opens against Ekaterina Alexandrova which is a classic 50-50 match. Why not? 😂 Enjoy the ride.