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Opportunity for Sorribes Tormo, Pegula

MADRID, Spain — The quarterfinals are set at the Mutua Madrid Open, and all four matches will be played on Wednesday. Five quarterfinalists, led by two-time champion Simona Halep, have been at this stage of a WTA 1000 before. The other three, Amanda Anisimova, Anhelina Kalinina and Ekaterina Alexandrova, are WTA 1000 quarterfinal debutantes. 

Here’s how Wednesday’s matchups stack up:

[8] Ons Jabeur vs. Simona Halep

Head-to-head: Halep leads 2-1
Last match: 2022 Dubai Quarterfinals, Halep d. Jabeur, 6-4, 6-3
What’s at stake: Jabeur is bidding to make her first WTA 1000 semifinal of the season and second in her career, having done so last fall at Indian Wells. A win for Halep would be her 31st in Madrid, moving her within one win of tying Petra Kvitova’s mark for most wins at the tournament. A victory would also move Halep to 8-1 vs. seeded opponents in 2022. 

No.10 Jabeur is the highest-ranked player left in the draw and a resurgent Halep is a two-time champion who can count the Caja Magica as her house after tallying her 30th main-draw win in Madrid. Something has to give.

Halep and Jabeur set up quarterfinal showdown in Madrid

“I’m going for my revenge because we played in Dubai and she played really well,” Jabeur said after defeating Belinda Bencic in the Round of 16. “It’s frustrating when someone takes control over me.”

Madrid: Jabeur defeats Bencic for first time in three meetings

2022 Madrid

Taking control has been the Halep mantra under new coach Patrick Mouratoglou. The duo spent four weeks increasing the power and amplitude of Halep’s game. The results have been clear through her first three matches. The former No.1 has not lost a set while defeating a string of in-form opponents in Zhang Shuai, No.2 Paula Badosa and Coco Gauff. 

‘Eid Mubarak!’ – Jabeur breaks fast with ‘special’ win in Madrid

Asked whether she enjoyed the challenge of unwinding Jabeur’s unpredictable style, Halep laughed. 

“Not really, because you never know what to expect,” Halep said. “She’s super talented, and it’s tough. But I won against her, so there is a chance for me, as well.”

Potential semifinal opponent: Alexandrova or Anisimova

[12] Jessica Pegula vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo

Head-to-head: First tour-level meeting. Sorribes Tormo has won both of their non-tour matches (2019 Indian Wells WTA 125K, 2016 Charleston qualifying)
What’s at stake: A stalwart at the WTA 1000 level, Pegula is bidding to make her second consecutive WTA 1000 semifinal, having done so last month in Miami, and first on clay. Continued progress in the tournament could also net her a Top 10 debut. For Sorribes Tormo, a win would give Spain a women’s semifinalist in back-to-back years. (Badosa reached that stage in 2021.)

‘My body said you need to stop’ – How Sorribes Tormo bounced back from burnout 

Sorribes Tormo has been the story of the tournament so far. Ranked No.47, the 25-year-old came into Madrid having failed to make it past the second round in her previous nine attempts from both qualifying and main draw. But with inspired wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina, Sorribes Tormo became just the fourth Spanish woman to make the quarterfinals in Madrid. She joins the list behind Carla Suarez Navarro, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Paula Badosa. 

Sorribes Tormo battles past Kasatkina into Madrid quarterfinals, Pegula ousts Andreescu

In Pegula, Sorribes Tormo faces one of the toughest players at the WTA 1000 level. The American, who could make her Top 10 debut after Madrid, advanced to her seventh WTA 1000 quarterfinal by defeating Bianca Andreescu in the Round of 16. Pegula was on the brink of an exit in the first round, where she saved match point to beat Camila Giorgi. 

“I think what [Sorribes Tormo] does so good is she plays every single point so tough,” Pegula said. “It doesn’t matter the score, every single point. You just have to expect she’s going to do that and do your best to do the same thing to her and try to play every single point really tough because she’s not going to give you anything. Just staying focused, getting your strategy right, and not getting frustrated is probably the most important. 

“But easier said than done. She does it to a lot of people.”

Potential semifinal opponent: Teichmann or Kalinina

Amanda Anisimova vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova

Head-to-head: Anisimova leads 1-0
Last meeting: 2020 Doha first round, Anisimova d. Alexandrova 6-3, 7-6(4)
What’s at stake: Anisimova is bidding to make her biggest semifinal since the 2019 French Open, where she lost to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in three sets. 

Alexandrova outlasts Bouzkova, Anisimova beats Azarenka in Madrid

No.33 Anisimova and No.45 Alexandrova booked their first WTA 1000 quarterfinals with nerve-wracking, edgy wins in the last round. Alexandrova nearly squandered leads in the first and third sets against Marie Bouzkova before closing out a 6-7, 6-0, 7-5 win in over three hours. Anisimova looked dominant against two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka, leading 6-1, 5-1 before getting rattled by nerves. But the American steeled herself to serve it out to win 6-1, 6-4.

Potential semifinal opponent: Jabeur or Halep.

Anhelina Kalinina vs. Jil Teichmann

Head-to-head: The two have split their two meetings
Last meeting: 2019 Bastad second round, Kalinina won, 6-4, 6-1
What’s at stake: Teichmann is bidding to make her third career WTA 1000 semifinal (2021 Dubai and 2021 Cincinnati). Kalinina has never been to this stage at a WTA 1000.

By ranking, this is the most evenly matched of the four quarterfinals. No.35 Kalinina has continued her strong run of play over the past 12 months, knocking off three consecutive major champions – Sloane Stephens, Garbiñe Muguruza and Emma Raducanu – to post the biggest result of her career. Last summer, the 25-year-old sparked her rise in the rankings on the ITF clay circuit and parlayed that momentum into a Top 40 placement. 

Kalinina edges Raducanu, Teichmann advances in Madrid

No.37 Teichmann is the younger but more experienced of the two. Last year, the Barcelona-born Swiss broke through at the WTA 1000 level on the hard courts. But her intelligent game style is perfectly suited for the clay, as evidenced by the fact her two WTA titles have come on the terre battue. Teichmann has come through a tough draw as well, defeating Petra Kvitova, Leylah Fernandez and No.16 Elena Rybakina. She and Halep are the only players who have yet to drop a set in Madrid. 

Potential semifinal opponent: Pegula or Sorribes Tormo

 




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