The Mutua Madrid Open is a staple event on the tour. 2018 celebrates 10 years as a WTA tournament and 22 years as an ATP tournament. Madrid has seen the biggest names in sport lift the trophy but who will be crowned champion in just over a week’s time?
Well, there isn’t really anywhere else to begin. Nadal has been champion 5 times here during his career and his form so far this clay court season has been flawless. I don’t really see who could provide a massive challenge to him. Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem were in good form in Monte-Carlo and got walked-over by the world number one and I can’t see anything but him winning.
After a tricky few months the German has seemed to have found his feet this season. Currently playing at home in Munich he will provide a challenge for some going forward in Madrid and Rome. The courts in Madrid are usually quite slow and that will suit the way Alex likes to play from the baseline.
Hyeon had to withdraw from Barcelona a week ago but the Australian Open semi-finalist has gone far in every tournament he has played this week and that goes the same for Munich so far. His game is good to watch, he can take it to you or can defend. His performance against Novak Djokovic in Melbourne was by far one of my favourite of the year, the way he moved around the court and utilised his ground strokes effectively.
If Dominic is to be considered a contender for Roland Garros he needs a good week here or in Rome. This recent ankle injury has halted his momentum but he did look strong in Monte Carlo before a short trip to Barcelona which in hindsight he maybe shouldn’t have taken. Dominic last year was the only player to beat Rafa on clay but to do that this year he will need to build up form quickly.
The world number one. No one has been in more Madrid finals than the Romanian. A former finalist in 2014 she returned to win the tournament in 2016 and 2017 but will history repeat in 2018?
The conditions are perfect for Halep when she is on her game. Her performances in Stuttgart which saw her leave early will be a concern with little freedom in her game at the moment but the conditions will allow her more time to grind out points but she can’t waste the time on court.
It is Vika’s first tournament on the travels with her son Leo.
It’s great to see the former finalist back in Madrid, Vika had been practicing a lot on clay after the sunshine double came to an end and I do think she will go deep here. As an unseeded player she does pose a threat to big seeds early on and a potential round two match with Karolina Pliskova is on the cards!
Muguruza surprised me by going to Monterrey after Miami however she won the tournament there but has struggled with form and fitness this year withdrawing from three tournaments already isn’t a good sign.
At home in Spain there will be added pressure for the third seed who has a tough opponent in Peng Shuai first and maybe Vekic or Garcia Perez in round two.
The Ukranian has made a few headlines on the WTA tour this year. At the age of just 15 she is ranked 134 in the world and comes into Madrid as a wildcard against another wildcard in the experienced Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena.
Marta has had a few top 100 wins this year against Peng Shuai, Daria Gavrilova and more recently Alize Cornet in qualifying in Stuttgart where she made it to the second round before losing to Caroline Garcia.
There is no pressure on her at all and she has shown with her tennis she isn’t afraid to go for it and can cause issues for Lara.