Halep and Badosa to meet in 2nd round of Madrid Open

Mutua Madrid Open - Day One
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MADRID – Two-time Madrid Open champion Simona Halep and second-ranked Paula Badosa will meet in the tournament’s second round after opening with victories.

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 Alize 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.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.