Simona Halep goes for three in a row this week in Madrid, but is looking for a first title since the first week in January.
Fourteen of the Top 15 on the WTA rankings join Halep, in addition to floaters such as former No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.
MUTUA MADRID OPEN 2018
MADRID, Spain; surface: clay
Seeds: Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko, Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Garcia, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Julia Goerges, CoCo Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, Daria Kasatkina, Anastasija Sevastova, Magdalena Rybarikova
The world No. 1 Halep and the former No. 1 Pliskova are tops in the top quarter. Halep starts against the Russian veteran Ekaterina Makarova, and Pliskova against Elena Vesnina, winner to likely meet former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. The Americans Keys and Stephens hope to make some noise, with Stephens looking at the winner of Sam Stosur and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2nd rd.
Muguruza and Venus Williams are the high seeds in the 2nd quarter, and both open with potential challenges. Muguruza meets Shuai Peng, and Williams against Anett Kontaveit. Petra Kvitova and Daria Kasatkina are other seeds in the quarter, with few unseeded floaters.
Elena Svitolina and Caroline Garcia headline the third quarter, each starting against tough opponents. Svitolina opens against upset queen Alize Cornet, and Garcia against former Grand Slam runner-up Dominika Cibulkova. Big-hitter Julia Goerges is also in the vicinity and will meet Timea Babos in the first round.
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko are the top seeds at the bottom of the draw, joined by fellow seeds CoCo Vandeweghe and Anastasija Sevastova. Interesting starts were dealt to Ostapenko vs. Irina-Camelia Begu (winner to face Maria Sharapova), Wozniacki vs. Daria Gavrilova, and Vandeweghe vs. Kristina Mladenovic.
Wildcards were awarded to the Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig, and Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena, Georgina Garcia Perez and Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Withdrawing from the tournament were Serena Williams, Timea Bacsinszky, Catherine Bellis, Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska, Lucie Safarova, and Laura Siegemund.
Halep is the two-time defending champion, in last year’s final defeating Mladenovic in the three-set final.
Former champions in the field are Halep (2017-16), Kvitova (2015,’11), and Sharapova (2014).
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