The Mutua Madrid Open may be over but the match quality may be talked about for the remainder of the season.
Three matches stood out on the women’s side of the tournament and all three have the potential for ‘WTA Match of the Year’ nominations at the end of the season. Those matches are:
In a match that ended just short of three and a half hours, Caroline Wozniacki defeated Monica Niculescu 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4 in the first round of the Madrid Open.
Before this encounter, Wozniacki had never dropped a set to Niculescu, holding a perfect 7-0 match record over the Romanian. Not only did Niculescu win a set, she was a few shots away from potentially sneaking away with a thrilling victory.
With the win, Wozniacki re-entered the Top 10 for the first time since September 2015.
She may have lost the match but Niculescu walked away with ‘Shot of the Day’.
An overall great point, Niculescu pushed Wozniacki around the whole court before finally putting away a volley to end the 15-shot rally.
Wozniacki portrayed mental strength to hang tight and finish this match as the winner.
With an opportunity to close the match in straight sets, Wozniacki fell on court before losing the set in a tiebreak. The match could have easily slipped from the Dane, but she reminded tennis viewers how she got to be world no. 1 in 2010.
In a match point that had angles, speed and finished with a volley, Wozniacki broke at 4-4 and went on to hold serve to end the marathon match against Niculescu.
— WTA (@WTA) May 7, 2017
Genie Bouchard defeated 5-time Major champion and the 2014 Madrid champion Maria Sharapova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in their second round match that last two hours, 51 minutes. Prior to the encounter, Bouchard was 0-4 against Sharapova and had only ever won one set against the Russian.
Luckily, that one set was on clay (2014 Roland Garros semi-finals).
Bouchard vs. Sharapova was one of the most anticipated matches of the Madrid Open and remained one of the most talked about in the days following its finish.
Full stretch, on the run, and Genie Bouchard managed to find the corner of the court.
A brilliant winner from the racquet of the 23-year-old Canadian earned the bragging rights to ‘Shot of the Day’.
Not only was it the ‘Shot of the Day’ in Madrid – The WTA has put Bouchard’s stretch forehand as one of the best of the tournament. Don’t be surprised if this thriller also appears in award categories like ‘Shot of the Month’ or ‘Shot of the Year’.
For the Top 4 shots of the women’s draw in Madrid, check out the montage below.
Bouchard may have hit the best shot of the day, but this encounter was full of brilliant shot-making by both players.
Angles, drop shots, zooming return of serves, brilliant backhands, quick feet and more – this match had everything and then some.
How bow dah pic.twitter.com/SOAcpEWflu
— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) May 8, 2017
In the women’s final of the Mutua Madrid Open, defending champion Simona Halep defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2 in two hours, 44 minutes to win her second Madrid Open title.
Mladenovic led the head-to-head 3-1 before the final (and still leads it 3-2). However, this was their first meeting on clay.
This was Halep’s first final of the season and first time defending a title on the WTA Tour. Across the court, Mladenovic entered the match fresh off a runner-up finish in Stuttgart, falling to Laura Siegemund in three sets. She also appeared in the final of Acapulco earlier this year and won her lone title to date in St. Petersburg.
It was destined to be a competitive encounter from the start.
Once again, the loser of a thriller ended up winning ‘Shot of the Day’.
Considering Kristina Mladenovic hit a stunning 40 winners (yes, 40) in the match, it seems only fair that she earned the bragging rights for this forehand.
It’s hard to remember the last time the WTA witnessed this type of high-quality final with outstanding numbers to match. Both players hit more winners than errors over three sets.
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