WTA European Tournaments: The Mutua Madrid Open and L’Open 35 de Saint-Malo

Two tournaments for two different stages of WTA stars.

By Ashton Kowalski

The Mutua Madrid Open kicked off on Thursday, April 29, in Madrid, Spain. The L’Open 35 de Saint-Malo began a few days later in Saint-Malo, France on Monday, May 3. The draw for the Madrid Open features players who have already established themselves as the best in the world, while the L’Open provides an opportunity for rising stars to gain experience on the WTA circuit.. The Madrid Open is the place to be for top-ranked players such as No. 1 Ashleigh Barty (AUS), No. 2 Naomi Osaka (JAP), No. 3 Simona Halep (ROM), and returning champion No. 10 Kiki Bertens (NETH). The L’Open attracts other top 100 players, like No. 61 Rebecca Peterson (SWE) and  No. 92 Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BEL), as well as former top-ranked juniors No. 164 Clara Burel (FRA) and No. 291 Diane Parry (FRA). 

No. 1 Ashleigh Barty sliding into the finals once again to keep up her winning streak.
(SOURCE: Jimmie48/WTA)

The L’Open is a well-matched event that gives younger and lower-ranked players a chance to make their mark. 

The round of 32 matchup between Peterson and No. 136 Xiyu Wang (CHI) was the highlight of the tournament so far. The match remained close with Wang serving the first set strong for a 6–4 win, then Peterson came back the next two sets with a 6–4 and 7–5 to win the match. Wang previously destroyed Peterson in the first round of the Miami Open with a 6–2, 6–2 win, so this comeback defeat was a huge win for Peterson. After her round of 16 win against No. 75 Anna Kalinskaya (RUS), Peterson will play in the quarterfinals on Friday, May 7.

The Madrid Open continued with the world’s top players swinging strong into the finals. Barty has yet to disappoint after her huge semifinal win against wildcard No. 62 Paula Badosa, the first Spanish WTA player to make it to the final four. After Bardosa defeated Barty in the Charleston Open last month, Barty made sure to not hold back in Madrid and got her revenge on the Spaniard with a 6–4, 6–3 win. She advanced to her first finals at the Madrid Open. 

Halep faced No. 16 Elise Mertens (BEL) in the round of 16, which resulted in a tough upset loss for the third-seeded Romanian. Halep was expected to fly past Mertens, as she was the No. 3 seed in the tournament and ranked third overall on the tour. After Halep’s finals appearance in the 2019 Madrid Open, it seemed that she would return to the championship  after an initial 6–4 first set win. Mertens had other plans in mind and fought back for a 7–5, 7–5 defeat for the match win. Mertens was defeated by No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka (BEL) in the quarterfinals, but her comeback against Halep will go down in tournament history. 

No. 75 Anna Kalinskaya making a powerful hit (SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES/ Matthew Stockman)

Reigning champ Bertens was quickly defeated in the round of 32 match against No. 28 Veronika Kudermetova (RUS). Dreams of defending her title  were quickly crushed with Kudermetova’s 6–4, 6–3 win. 

These two tournaments have once again shown the extreme determination these players display time and time again. Many players defeat odds, some hold them up, but both tournaments display equally entertaining athleticism to watch. 

Continue watching the Mutua Madrid Open on Tennis TV or livestream on ESPN Plus. View the L’Open 35 de Saint-Malo here.

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