With Roland Garros coming up in less than a month, several of the WTA’s best players are in action at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open, hoping to hone their clay court games in preparation for the season’s second Major. Last year, Maria Sharapova defeated Simona Halep in 3 sets to take the 2014 Madrid crown. They were both in action on day two of this year’s tournament, but only Masha would emerge triumphant. Sharapova has taken some unexpected early season losses after starting her year with a title in Brisbane and runner-up at the Australian Open. Masha hasn’t been quite 100 percent healthy, so hopefully her 6-2 6-3 opening round win over Timea Bacsinszky is a positive sign that her body and game are rounding into form. Timea is a terrific rising player who has captured 2 titles already in 2015 and had beaten Masha in Wuhan last year.
Unlike Masha, both Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep did not survive day two in Madrid. Genie was the toast of the tour for most of the first half of 2014, going deep in the first three Majors, including reaching the final at Wimbledon. But since being thrashed in that final by Petra Kvitova and flaming out in her opening match at Rogers Cup, Bouchard’s game has seemingly abandoned her. Add in handshake-gate at this year’s Fed Cup and one has to wonder where her head is at the moment. Maybe she needs to step away from the game and recharge. She romped to a first set bagel over Barbora Strycova. But Genie couldn’t hold the lead, falling to Strycova, 0-6 6-3 6-3. For last year’s runner-up Simona Halep, it was just a bad opening round draw. Alize Cornet isn’t top 10, but she has the game and the moxie to take out any of the top seeds on a given day as she demonstrated last year by being the only player to beat Serena Williams multiple times, including an upset at Wimbledon. So I don’t read as much into Simona falling to Cornet 7-6 (6) 6-3. Halep already has 3 title in 2015. I won’t be surprised if she picks up a fourth title soon. It just won’t be in Madrid.
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1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-0 6-1 vs Madison Brengle)
3 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-2 6-3 vs Timea Bacsinszky)
4 PETRA KVITOVA (won 3-6 6-1 6-4 vs Olga Govortsova)
6 EUGENIE BOUCHARD (lost 0-6 6-3 6-3 to Barbora Strycova)
VICTORIA AZARENKA (won 6-3 7-5 vs 16 Venus Williams)