In a much-anticipated showdown, blonde starlets Maria Sharapova clashes with Eugenie Bouchard. Sharapova advanced to the showdown coming from a set down to defeat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
“I’m not quite sure how to describe the match because it feels like it happened so fast,” said Sharapova. “I thought she played really well. I was playing against, like, a human slingshot for a while there. Balls were coming so fast and deep that, for a couple of sets, I don’t believe we had too many rallies over three balls.
“You know, she goes for it. You have to be patient. Sometimes there’s not much you can do. Those are great shots, on the line. I mean, the breakpoints, I missed a couple of second-serve returns. That was obviously an error from my side.”
Sharapova has won all four meetings with Bouchard, but the Canadian is looking forward to the opportunity.
“Once I step on the court, everything will be to the side,” Bouchard said Saturday after beating Alize Cornet. But, you know, inside myself, I think I’ll have a bit more motivation. But it’s very important, once I step on the court, no matter who is on the other side, to focus on the tennis. Or else I think it’s easy to lose concentration.”
Earlier, Spanish hope Garbine Mugurza was stunned in her opener by Swiss star Timea Bacsinsky 6-1, 6-3.
“I have a game that can bother her, Bacsinsky said after her first win in five tries against the Spaniard. “She also has a game to bother me. S it’s tricky when we play one another. Today I tried to play different, somehow, I used different options, with a Plan A, Plan B, and maybe two more, carefully choosing between them because I know it’s tough when she gets her rhythm.”
Muguruza was in poor form with a French Open title defense just weeks away. She’s lost her last three matches and hasn’t made a tournament semifinal since Brisbane.
“It was a match with a lot of ups and downs,” Muguruza said in her post-match press conference. “I think she played pretty intelligent, pretty smart.
“Well, I don’t think it was my day. Honestly, I didn’t play very good. I was missing a lot some shots I should maybe not miss against Timea.I think she’s a very good player, and she used that moments, especially the important ones, to advance in the game.”
Muguruza’s last title of final was that French Open win.
Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova, CiCi Bellis and Svetlana Kuznetsova were also winners.
On Monday, Karolina Pliskova opens play against Anastasia Sevastova. Kerber returns to face Katerina Siniakova and Caroline Wozniacki is in action.
The men’s draw gets going headlined by Frenchmen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils who faces countryman Gilles Simon.
Grigor Dimitrov, David Ferrer and Felicino Lopez are also featured.
MONDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
WTA – A. Sevastova (LAT) vs  Ka. Pliskova (CZE)
Not Before 1:30 pm
WTA –  A. Kerber (GER) vs K. Siniakova (CZE)
ATP – D. Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] M. Kukushkin (KAZ)
Not Before 8:00 pm
WTA – E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS)
Not Before 9:30 pm
ATP – [Q] E. Escobedo (USA) vs F. Lopez (ESP)
ARANXTA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP –  G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs P. Kohlschreiber (GER)
ATP –  G. Monfils (FRA) vs G. Simon (FRA)
WTA – A. Riske (USA) vs  S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
WTA –  B. Strycova (CZE) or L. Safarova (CZE) vs [WC] L. Arruabarrena (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [Q] A. Kuznetsov (RUS) vs  J. Tsonga (FRA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs  C. Wozniacki (DEN)
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