Madrid - Reigning
champion Simona Halep edged closer to a third consecutive Madrid Open
title by beating Belgium's Elise Mertens in the second round on Tuesday.
Halep, the winner here in 2016 and 2017, was made to work harder in
the second set on Manolo Santana but the world number one's 6-0, 6-3
victory was never in doubt.
Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic will now await Halep in the
last 16 as the Romanian continues to prepare for the French Open, where
she has twice gone the distance only to finish runner-up.
Halep won the first eight games in a row to lead 6-0, 2-0, with her
clay-court counter-attacking too strong for the 22-year-old Mertens to
Mertens offered some late resistance as her opponent's concentration
wavered, but a double fault confirmed Halep's victory in a brief one
hour and 11 minutes.
"I think I played well again," Halep said.
"It is the second match of the tournament. I have a great feeling."
Earlier, Petra Kvitova battled to a 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) victory over
Puerto Rico's Monica Puig to register her seventh consecutive win.
Kvitova's hard-hitting game lends itself more to the faster surfaces
but after lifting the title on clay in Prague at the weekend, she has
maintained her momentum here and will meet Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in
Home favourite Garbine Muguruza staged a comeback from a set and a
break down to beat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and reach the third round
for the first time in her career.
The two-time Grand Slam champion was in trouble when she dropped
serve in the fifth game of the second set, but won 10 of the next 12
games to race to victory.
Dangerous Russian Daria Kasatkina awaits the world number three in the last 16 after a comfortable win over Sorana Cirstea.
Fourth seed and reigning Italian Open champion Elina Svitolina
slumped to a surprise 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 loss to Spaniard Carla Suarez
Navarro in the second round.
The Ukrainian world number four will now prepare for the defence of
her title in Rome next week, while Suarez Navarro will face Bernarda
Pera, after the American brushed aside Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.
Martin del Potro made a winning start to his clay-court season by seeing
off Damir Dzumhur in his first match since losing in the Miami Open
semi-finals to John Isner in March.
The former US Open champion, who has won two titles this year
including at Indian Wells, had far too much for his Bosnian opponent in a
comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win.
Del Potro admitted that his persistent wrist injuries make clay more difficult for him than other surfaces.
"On clay you can't use the slice much, which is a blow because I've been using it more for my wrist problems," he said.
"For now my wrist is responding well, I'm still having treatment every day. I'm calm, because I've been doing well."
The Argentinian, twice a semi-finalist in Madrid, will take on Dusan
Lajovic in the last 16 after the Serbian edged out Richard Gasquet 7-6
(7/1), 7-6 (7/1).
World number four Grigor Dimitrov was beaten in a tight second-round
encounter by former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic, who is playing his
first tournament since withdrawing from the Monte Carlo Masters with
The big-serving Canadian grabbed the first break of the match in the
11th game, and despite seeing Dimitrov fight back to force a decider, he
closed out a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Elsewhere, South Korean rising star Chung Hyeon suffered a shock 6-0,
6-2 first-round thrashing at the hands of Dutchman Robin Haase.
Chung's fellow Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund beat Daniil
Medvedev 6-4, 6-0 to set up a clash with former world number one Novak
Djokovic, who beat Kei Nishikori on Monday.
Results from the ATP/WTA Madrid Open on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/1)
Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG x4) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3, 6-3
Milos Raonic (CAN) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x3) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
Borna Coric (CRO) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x9) 6-4, 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Marius Copil (ROU) 6-4, 6-4
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x11) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 6-4, 6-3
Robin Haase (NED) bt Chung Hyeon (KOR) 6-2, 6-0
Pablo Cuevas (URU) bt Jack Sock (USA x12) 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-0
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x16) 6-3, 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 7-5, 6-4
Albert Ramos Vinolas (ESP) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 6-4, 6-0
Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Guillermo García-López (ESP) 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)
Simona Halep (ROU x1) bt Elise Mertens (BEL) 6-0, 6-3
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 7-5, 6-2
Petra Kvitova (CZE x10) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-3, 7-6 (10/8)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Daria Kasatkina (RUS x14) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 6-3, 6-1
Anett Kontaveit (EST) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) bt Donna Vekic (CRO) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-4, 6-3