Mutua Madrid Open R1 Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Ekaterina Makarova
Two-time defending champion Simona Halep will begin her 2018 Madrid campaign with a potentially tricky first round clash against Ekaterina Makarova. Madrid has proven to be Halep’s best tournament over the last few years, the reasonably quick clay court conditions are perfect for the Romanian’s game. Makarova has beaten Halep a couple of times before, can the Russian cause a huge opening round upset?
Halep arrives in Madrid on the back of a couple of disappointing results. Halep started the year in style but her results of late have not been up to the standards of a world number 1. Halep started her clay court season in Stuttgart where she suffered a shocking straight set exit at the hands of CoCo Vandeweghe at the quarter-final stage. Halep has lost 3 of her last 5 matches at the tour level. The good news for Halep is that she has a remarkable record in Madrid, Halep is the two-time defending champion and also reached the final in 2014.
Makarova has been one of the tour’s biggest disappointments in 2018, the Russian is having one of her worst seasons in recent times. Amazingly Makarova is yet to win back-to-back matches in 2018, very surprising given how consistent Makarova usually is. Makarova arrives in Madrid on the back of a disappointing opening round loss in Rabat last week where she suffered a 3 set loss to Aleksandra Krunic.
Halep holds a 4-2 H2H record over Makarova. Halep won their most recent match 6-3 6-0 in Doha earlier this year. This will be their first career meeting on a clay court.