Mutua Madrid Open, R2 Preview
?? (1) Simona Halep vs. ?? Elise Mertens
A blockbuster second round clash in Madrid sees the two-time defending champion take on one of the form players on tour right now as Simona Halep comes up against Elise Mertens. Halep has won her last 13 matches in Madrid whilst Mertens is on an 11-match winning streak having arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title in Lugano and Rabat. All is set for an exciting encounter in what will be the first career meeting between the pair. Can the in-form Mertens stop Halep’s magical run in Madrid?
Simona Halep made the perfect start to her title defense in Madrid. The world number 1 crushed Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-0 in just 51 minutes in what was a near-flawless performance by Halep. Halep is clearly the player to beat this week, the Romanian is extremely comfortable in Madrid, the quick clay courts suit her game perfectly. Halep is bidding to become the first player to win the Mutua Madrid Open on three occasions, the early signs are good for the top seed but Mertens will provide her first real test on Tuesday.
Elise Mertens is arguably the form player on tour right now. Mertens arrived in Madrid fresh off winning back-to-back title on clay, wins in Lugano and Rabat saw her reach an equal tour level high off 3 titles to her name in 2018 and rise to a career high ranking of 16 in the world. Mertens had little time to prepare for Madrid having arrived from Rabat a day before her first round match. Nevertheless, Mertens was solid enough to claim a 6-4 6-4 win over compatriot Alison Van Uytvanck, Mertens was too strong at the critical stage of each set.
It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in what will be the first career meeting between the two. Expect a high quality match between two in-form and confident opponents.