MADRID (AP) — Two-time Madrid Open champion Simona Halep and second-ranked Paula Badosa will meet in the tournament’s second round after opening with victories on Thursday.
Halep beat Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 and Badosa defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-0.
It will be the first time Halep and Badosa meet.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting match, because it’s going to be quite a clay-court match very tactically, and I’m really looking forward to that,” said Badosa, who is from Spain. “Of course she’s a great champion. So maybe I’m the favorite or no, I will try to give my best, because for sure she will push me to the limits.”
Badosa, a semifinalist in Madrid last year, made it to No. 2 in the world for the first time this week.
“I’m really looking forward to these kind of matches, because I really like them and it’s the matches that you work for,” said the 24-year-old Badosa, who saved all five break points she faced.
Halep won consecutive Madrid titles in 2016 and 2017 and was runner-up in 2014 and 2019.
“I’m really happy that I could win this match,” the Romanian said. “It means a lot. Being in Madrid, I have great memories. So everything went together today and I played a good match.”
The 30-year-old Halep won under a closed roof on a rainy morning in the Spanish capital.
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek withdrew from the clay-court tournament on Wednesday because of a sore arm.
Also, Amanda Anisimova upset third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, while fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova lost to Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 7-5.
Coco Gauff defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-0, 6-2, Victoria Azarenka beat Viktorija Golubic 7-6 (5), 6-3, and Varvara Gracheva rallied past Alizé Cornet 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.
The men’s first round begins next week, with both Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Novak Djokovic participating.
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