The match of the day lived up to the hype in the women’s draw Monday in Madrid. In the clash of former No. 1s, Karolina Pliskova edged Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.
Pliskova lead 3-0 in the third but needed another break and got it at 6-5 to take her 7th straight match win.
The Stuttgart winner now faces Sloane Stephens who cruised past fellow US Open winner Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-3.
Sloane Stephens aced an early test at the Mutua Madrid Open, seeing off former French Open finalist Sam Stosur in straight sets to reach the third round.
“To just be outside of the United States and still get a win is incredible,” Stephens said. “I’m super pumped that it’s here in Madrid, and getting the clay court season started pretty well.
“I think I played really well and super consistent, I competed very well so I’m pleased with that.”
Stephens has won 13 of her last 16.
Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki also advanced over Ash Barty 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
“She played extremely well, I thought. She wasn’t making any errors at one point. I think it kind of turned around when I got that net cord. It went over, and instead of being 5-2 for her in the third, I still had a chance to kind of survive,” Wozniacki said.
“I think that’s where it changed a little bit. I just kind of stayed in it, and then I served pretty well to close it off.”
Maria Sharapova rolled past Irina-Camelia Begu 7-5, 6-1. Up next will be Kiki Mladenovic who ousted Shuai Zhang in three.
On tap Tuesday, World No. 1 Simona Halep is in action against Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens. Petra Kvitova contests Monica Puig and Spanish hope Garbine Muguruza meets Donna Vekic. Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta are also on court.
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Madrid 3rd RD Wednesday: Serena v Azarenka, Wozniacki v Radwanska