Thursday's action on the courts of Caja Magica venue contained the first match appearance of half of the players seeded in the WTA competition of Mutua Madrid Open 2023. It was also a day, which delivered a few surprising results with notable names being eliminated by their lower rated opponents.
Mirra Andreeva continues her fairytale run, as the 15 years-old wild card receiver eliminated tournament's 13th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia. The young Russian has already made an upset on Leylah Fernandez yesterday. This time, it was done with not a less stylish manner, as Andreeva defeated the Brazilian in straight sets, 7-6(6) 6-3. It was not such a straightforward match though, as both sets lasted at least an hour. Haddad Maia was on the front foot in the opening one, being up a break twice, but did not manage to serve for the set within a score 5-4, and blew away the advantage of 3 setpoints in a tiebreak. Andreeva was already 3-6 down with Haddad Maia having two serving points in the tally, but the more experienced of the players did not convert it somehow, allowing her younger opponent to win 5 points in a row and grab the whole set. Andreeva followed the blow by gaining a break in opening game of second set and did not slip away her advantage till the end.
Magda Linette will be Andreeva's opponent in third round after also making some kind of upset on Marketa Vondrousova. Despite being ranked 61 places higher in the rankings, the pre-match chances of the current world's number 19 were rated really low comparing to the Czech. Vondrousova, who came back to competition a few months ago, climbs up through the ranking and presents a great run of form, approaching to the match against Linette with a series of 8 wins out of last 10 matches. The Pole, despite reaching out the Australian Open semis in January, did not capitalize in her career's best achievement and struggled in the last couple of weeks, winning just 2 out of last 10 matches. Vondrousova was rated as a huge pre-match favorite with an odd 1.17, but it was Linette who prevailed in a 2:45 hours battle, winning it 7-6(1) 4-6 6-4. It was a shaky performance from both, especially in the opening set, which ended up in a tiebreak after 8 games out of 12 lost by the serving player. Both players produced 17 breakpoints and both broke the opponent 7 times.
Jule Niemeier performed another upset of this morning, defeating Petra Kvitova 7-6(9) 6-1. The tournament's 10th seed appeared on the court for the first time since winning the latest WTA 1000 tournament in Miami, as she withdrew from the last week's event in Stuttgart lately due to an injury. The first set was a thrilling battle which could finish in the favour of both ways. Niemeier had two setpoints on Kvitova's serve in 10th game, while the Czech cleared this danger and had a chance to serve for the set two games later after breaking her opponent. The momentum in tiebreak fluctuated as well, as Niemeier did not close the set despite being 6-3 up. Kvitova came back to lead 8-7 and 9-8, but did also not convert any of her setpoints. The German clinched this set with a score 11-9 in tiebreak, after 78 minutes of play. Second set was a great display of performance from Niemeier and poor one from Kvitova, who lost all of her service games easily. Elise Mertens is the next opponent for Niemeier. The Belgian defeated Rebecca Marino 6-3 6-1.
Camila Osorio made another surprise, winning against Marta Kostyuk 3-6 6-4 6-3. The Colombian, who received a wild card to the main draw, came back from being a set down against the Ukrainian who was a pre-match favorite there with an odd 1.54. It could gone one way with a straight sets win for Kostyuk, but Osorio made a huge hold in third game of second set, defending 7 breakpoints in the longest game of this match. It could be the turning point, as the Colombian broke her opponent in the following game and was much more consistent side in this duel till the end.
Aryna Sabalenka will be the next opponent of Osorio, as the tournament's 2nd seed took the succesful revenge on Sorana Cirstea for the lose in their previous meeting in QFs of Miami Open. Despite it was quite a short match with a routine 6-4 6-3 score on the board, the Romanian made some difficult conditions for Sabalenka. Cirstea produced more breakpoints than Sabalenka (8 to 5), but the Belarusian was perfectly clinical, converting all of her chances and defending the crucial points in second set.
Paula Badosa fought a difficult battle against Elisabetta Cocciaretto. The home crowd's favorite needed 2,5 hours to overcome the Italian, moving into next round with a score 6-3 4-6 6-4. It was a shaky performance from both, as Badosa was losing after an early break in the opening set, but came back from the score 0-2 to break her opponent 3 times and take the set with a score 6-3. Second set started with a scenario which was indicating an easy straight-sets win for Badosa, who was up 3-1, but this time it was Cocciaretto who fought back and took a set from being down a break. The deciding set was an intense battle, as both players were defending multiple breakpoints in long games, which did not bring any single break till 10th game. Cocciaretto did not manage to serve under pressure of losing the match there, as Badosa broke her opponent to love and took whole the match. The next match for the Spaniard will be a top clash of third round against Cori Gauff. The tournament's 6th seed defeated another Spaniard, the qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela, 6-4 6-1.
It was a good day for the home fans in general, as Rebecca Masarova was the second Spaniard to advance into third round today. The world's number 74 made an upset on Donna Vekic, eliminating the tournament's 20th seed in straight sets with a score 6-1 7-6(5). Second set was a thriller there, as Masarova was the first player to gain a break advantage and looking well on the way to win it easily after a dominant performance in the opening set. The Croatian fought back by winning 5 games in a row, but did not convert 4 setpoints in 9th and 10th game. Masarova regained her advantage and clinched her straight sets win in a tiebreak. Maria Sakkari will be next rival of the Spaniard. The 9th seed has expectedly defeated Arantxa Rus 6-4 6-4.