Mutua Madrid Open: Simona Halep bests Paula Badosa to enter pre-quarters

The eagerly awaited second-round clash between Simona Halep and Paula Badosa at the Mutua Madrid Open went in favour of the Romanian on Saturday. The former world no. 1, a two-time winner at the event, upset the second-seeded Spaniard, 6-3, 6-1 in 76 minutes.

This was the first time the two players had faced each other. Halep won 84% of her first-serve points to Badosa’s 51%. She saved six of the seven break points and converted five of the 10 break points she had on Badosa’s serve.

The home favourite seemed to be struggling with an injury to her shoulder. However, in her post-match press conference, Badosa shrugged it off and said that Halep’s game was just too good for her. “My shoulder, it’s okay. My first time playing against Simona, I think she played very high level. She was getting all the balls. She was aggressive. She was fast. I don’t know what she said, but I think she played perfect,” Badosa shared.

Mutua Madrid Open: Seeds thrive in the Spanish capital

In the third round, Halep will now play 14th seed Coco Gauff. The American beat Yulia Putintseva in a tough three-setter, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes. 

Eighth seed Ons Jabeur also advanced to the third round. The Tunisian needed three sets and hour and 56 minutes to get past Varvara Gracheva, 7-5, 0-6, 6-4. For a place in the quarter-finals, Jabeur will now play Belinda Bencic. The Swiss, seeded 11th in the draw, also needed three sets to beat Karolina Muchova, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

Victoria Azarenka, a two-time runner-up in Madrid, came from a set down to oust Tamara Zidansek. The former world no. 1 won 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in two hours and 20 minutes against the Slovenian. Next up for Azarenka is Amanda Anisimova. The American also came from down a set in her second-round match against Petra Martic, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and one minute.

Lastly, Marie Bouzkova and Ekaterina Alexandrova have set up a third-round encounter. The Czech beat Ukrainian qualifier, Dayana Yastremska, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 in their round-of-32 match. Meanwhile, Alexandrova got past Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-4, 7-5. 

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