Swiatek, Badosa face early tests vs Kvitova, Halep

The new leaders of the Hologic WTA Tour can be tested early in the Mutua Madrid Open by several of the main unranked winners.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, currently on a 23-match winning streak, faces a potential clash against three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova in the second round. New World No. 2 Paula Padusa may face Simona Halep twice on the same stage.

Elsewhere, defending champion and No. 3 seed Arina Sabalenka started taking on her opponent Amanda Anisimova, while US Open champion Emma Raducano landed in a division that also includes 2002-born peers Marta Kostyuk and Clara Towson.

First Quadrant: Swiatek strives to preserve the life line

Swiatek’s winning streak has captivated the 20-year-old on four tournaments, three continents and two surfaces so far, and she will try to maintain it on the outdoor clay in her second appearance in Madrid. In her 2021 debut, Swiatek fell to Ashleigh Barty in the third round.

The Pole starts with a qualifier but could take on the player with Real Madrid’s best achievement on the field in the second round – Petra Kvitova, champion of 2011, 2015 and 2018. Kvitova opens herself up to a tough lineup from Jill Tishman. Swiatek won their only previous encounter 6-3, 6-3 in the Miami quarterfinals in March.

If she passes that test, Swiatek is expected to face 16th seed Elena Rybakina in the third round and 7th seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the quarterfinals. Muguruza has yet to get past the third round of the WTA 1000 event at home in seven previous entries, and at that point this year she may be facing one of three talented teens born in 2002. Number 9 seed Emma Radokano opens to Teresa Martinkova. The winner will face either Clara Towson or Marta Kostyuk, who faced each other in the first round.

Quarter Two: Scary faces a series of landmines

4 seed Maria Scari, who reached the semi-finals here in 2021, faces a tough road as she seeks to get her season back on track. After reaching the finals in Saint Petersburg and Indian Wells, she lost her opening match in Miami to Beatrice Haddad-Maa and in Stuttgart to Laura Siegmund (by retirement). Scary’s team opened against Madison Keys, who qualified for the semi-finals at the Australian Open, with either US Open runner-up Leila Fernandez or Daria Kasatkina waiting in the second round.

Naomi Osaka, who has announced her intention to take the clay-court swing more seriously than ever this year, could be a third-round opponent for Scary. Osaka starts off against a qualifier, then will need to pass 13th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who is playing her first tournament after injuring a knee for two months, or Sarah Soribis Turmo.

6th seed Danielle Collins is Sakkari’s expected opponent in the quarter-finals. Collins, a Australian Open finalist, opens against Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist who has had three surgeries on her elbow and shoulder since 2019. Puig is playing her first tournament since Roland Garros 2020, last winning at Luxembourg 2019 .

The winner will face either former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, who returned from a six-month hiatus last week in Stuttgart, or Alison Riske in the second round.

Champion reel: How Arina Sabalenka won Madrid 2021

2021 Madrid

Third quarter: Sabalenka advances with first victory over Anisimova

Last year, Sabalenka used Madrid’s high altitude conditions to her advantage as she blew up the field to win her 10th career title, culminating in a victory over Ashleigh Barty in the final. She hasn’t won a trophy since then, and although her arrival in the Stuttgart final last week looked like she’s on track after a tough start, a draw gave her few favors.

Sabalenka begins against a rising Amanda Anisimova, who has won all three of her previous encounters — including a third-round match in Charleston on clay last month. If she survives, waiting for the second round tilt against Lyudmila Samsonova. The powerful Samsonova reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart, becoming the only player to have received a set from Swiatek since mid-March.

15th seed Victoria Azarenka, two-time runner-up in Madrid in 2011 and 2012, is expected to face Sabalenka in the third round. Two of the seeded women returning from the playoffs due to injury will try to meet Sabalenka in the quarter-finals. No. 5 Karolina Pliskova, who has collected the record 2-4 since returning from a broken wrist she sustained in the off-season, or No. 10 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who had an impressive campaign in February but was sidelined by a wrist injury last month.

Fourth quarter: Padusa faces potential confrontation with Halep

Last year, Real Madrid had a great tournament for Padusa. As the 62nd ranked wildcard, she delivered a thrilling run to the semi-finals in front of her home crowd. Twelve months later, she is newly ranked No. 2 in the world after reaching the semi-finals of Stuttgart and will open against Veronika Kudretova.

In the second round, Padusa could face 2016 and 2017 champion Halep for the first time. The former Romanian No. 1, who suffered an injury in 2021 and slipped her ranking to No. 21, will make her debut with new coach Patrick Muratoglu. Halep, who won Summer Group 1 in Melbourne in January and reached the semi-finals in Doha and Indian Wells, missed with a leg injury. You will open against Zhang Shuai.

14th seed Coco Gauff is the expected third-round contender for Padusa, and No. 8 seed Anas Jaber is set to wait in the quarter-finals. Jabeur may first need to get revenge on 10th seed Belinda Bencic. The expected third-round clash will be a replay of the high-quality Charleston final a month ago, which Bencic won 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. The Swiss player first faces a difficult second round against young substitute Zeng Chenwen or the permanently injured but dangerous Karolina Mochova.

2022 Mutua Madrid Open: Seven matches from the first round of the circuit
Amanda Anisimova (USA) vs. [3] Arina Sabalenka
[WC] Marta Kostyuk (UK) – Clara Towson (Den).
Laila Fernandez (Canada) vs Daria Kasatkina
Sarah Sorribes Tormo (Spain) vs. [13] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
[WC] Cheng Kenwen (China) vs Carolina Mochova (Czechoslovakia)
[4] Maria Skari (Greece) vs Madison Keys (USA)
[8] Anas Jaber (Ton) vs Jasmine Paolini (Italy)

click here Watch the full 2022 Mutua Madrid Open draw.