Madrid, World No.1 Ashleigh Barty won the battle when the last two champions of the French Open clashed and she beat Poland’s Iga Swiatek 7-5, 6-4 in the third round of the Madrid Open.
Barty won in Paris in 2019 and Swiatek in 2020 and both players went into the clash with long unbeaten runs on clay, with Barty not losing her last 19 matches, while Swiatek 18.
Swiatek started out better of the two and raced into a 3-0 lead, but she failed to beat the Australian’s serve and although Barty’s first serve wasn’t at her best, she still won almost 80 per cent of her service points, Xinhua news agency reports.
The No.1 seed will now meet Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals after the No.9 seed reached the quarterfinals in Madrid for the sixth time in her career with the three-time winner taking a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Veronika Kudermetova, while No.8 seed Belinda Bencic moved into the last eight after injury forced her rival, Ons Jabeur to retire trailing 7-6(2), 4-3.
On the first day of the men’s competition, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev opened his debut Mutua Madrid Open campaign on Monday by hitting 24 winners on his way to a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Ugo Humbert, which set up a second-round tie against No.7 seed Diego Schwartzman.
British number one Daniel Evans beat Jeremy Chardy in a marathon 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-2 match, which lasted two hours and 46 minutes.
Lloyd Harris continued his excellent form against Top-20 ranked opponents with a tense, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) win over Bulgaria’s No.13 seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Harris wasted three match points while 5-2 up in the third set, but then fought back from 2-3 down in the decisive tie-break.
Meanwhile, big-serving John Isner hit 28 aces on his way to a 6-4, 7-6(6) win over Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic.