The first clay court WTA 1000 event of the year continues at the Madrid Open with second round action on Thursday. Aryna Sabalenka, Caroline Garcia, Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari and Petra Kvitova will all be in action on Day 3. Who do you think will advance to the third round?
WTA Madrid Day 3 Predictions
Mayar Sherif vs Anhelina Kalinina
Head-to-head: Kalinina 1-0 Sherif (2-0 including ITF level)
Sherif has won just four of her 12 main tour matches this year, but comes into this match with some form on clay after reaching the semifinals of the Oeiras ITF event last week. The 26-year-old Egyptian progressed against Camila Giorgi in the opening round in Madrid after the Italian was forced to retire at one set apiece. Kalinina has lost four of her last five matches, including her only clay court outing of the season against Anna Kalinskaya in Charleston earlier this month. The 26-year-old won the pair’s only tour meeting at the 2021 US Open and also prevailed in their Montpellier ITF final clash earlier the same year. The Ukrainian, who earned impressive victories over Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu in reaching the Madrid quarterfinals in 2022, should have the edge despite her lack of claycourt matches.
Prediction: Kalinina in 3
Irina-Camelia Begu vs Karolina Muchova
Head-to-head: Begu 1-0 Muchova
Begu reached the last 16 in Charleston in her only clay court event this year, losing to Jessica Pegula in three sets. Prior to that, the World No. 35 had lost six of eight matches since reaching the Adelaide semifinals in January. The 32-year-old Romanian is 6-7 in Madrid, but made the semifinals in 2017. Muchova found impressive form on hard courts in recent months, reaching quarterfinals in Dubai and Indian Wells and the third round in Miami as a qualifier. The World No. 52 posted a convincing 6-2 6-2 opening round win over Anett Kontaveit. This will be the 26-year-old Czech’s first event since Miami, but her more impressive form this year and higher peak could see her through on her debut Madrid Open campaign.
Prediction: Muchova in 3
Elisabetta Cocciaretto vs Paula Badosa
Head-to-head: First meeting
Cocciaretto has had some impressive hardcourt results this year, reaching the Hobart final in January and successive quarterfinals in Merida and Monterrey in February and March. The 22-year-old then continued her success in Mexico by winning the San Luis Potosi Challenger on clay at the start of April. The World No. 50 won 6-3 7-6(5) against Barbora Strycova in the opening round of the WTA 1000 event. After a mixed start to 2023, Badosa has looked good on clay–reaching quarterfinals in Charleston and Stuttgart. The 25-year-old Spaniard has a 7-6 record at her home event, including a semifinal showing in 2021. The World No. 42 should be a bit too strong for the Italian given her encouraging recent performances.
Prediction: Badosa in 2
Linda Fruhvirtova vs Jelena Ostapenko
Head-to-head: Ostapenko 1-0 Fruhvirtova
Fruhvirtova has not won back-to-back matches since her run to the last 16 of the Australian Open in January. The 17-year-old Czech saw off Katie Volynets 6-3 7-5 in the opening round in Madrid on Tuesday. Ostapenko’s best result of 2023 also came at the Melbourne Slam, where she made the quarterfinals. The World No. 22 has a solid 8-6 record since then. The 25-year-old Latvian was beaten in three sets by Ons Jabeur in the second round of Stuttgart last week in her first claycourt event this season. Ostapenko won the pair’s only previous encounter 6-2 6-0 in Dubai in February, but her 29% win rate at this tournament suggests this will be tougher.
Prediction: Ostapenko in 3
Main Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports