Two of the Top 4 seeds advance on Tuesday in Madrid. World No. 1 eased past Australian Open semifinalist Elise Mertens 6-0, 6-3, ending the Belgian’s 13-match wins streak; and, Garbine Muguruza outlasted Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
But No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina was bounced by Carla Suarez Navarro 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 much to the delight of the home Spanish fans.
“I’m very happy because at the end of the day, these type of victories are the victories that you need,” Suarez Navarro said. “This victory at home, with your people here supporting, they give you wings, a lot of confidence.
“I am not a tall player. I don’t have many aces. I don’t have many winners. I really want to, but I don’t have. I have to play long matches if I need to. But, well, this is tennis. This is my style.”
Saurez broke the Ukranian at 5-4 in the third to take it.
Petra Kvitova was also a straight set winner over Monica Puig and American Bernarda Pera stunned Johanna Konta. Konta has now lost 6 of her last 10 matches.
Wednesday sees top seed Halep taking on the other Pliskova, Kristyna. Meanwhile, Karolina collides with US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Also, Muguruza meets Daria Kasatkina and Maria Sharapova takes on Kristina Mladenovic. A year ago, Mladenovic had some choice words for the Russian who was just coming back from a doping suspension.
“All the other players are saying she’s a cheater,” Mladenovic said to Le Parisien.
“As far as I am concerned if I take an aspirin I worry 10 times about what I do. She’s been taking this drug for 10 years and it’s a serious drug. She has played with the rules and thought, if it’s not banned, then I can take it.
“For me that’s very disappointing. I don’t like the mentality to be the best by playing with the rules.”
Mladenovic went on to beat Sharapova in Stuttgart. Will Maria gain revenge?
“Based on what I remember, although it was a difficult match to lose, I think it was just nice to get that event out of the way, I guess, in many aspects,” Sharapova reflected. “To play the amount of sets that I did there, four days in a row, especially not hitting one ball on-site until my first round.”
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