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Osaka, Stephens, Bertens move into second round at Madrid Open

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Naomi Osaka. Photo by Peter PARKS / AFP

The women took centre stage at the Madrid Open Tennis Championship yesterday, as world number one, Naomi Osaka of Japan defeated Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova to move into the second round. Also, the seventh-seeded Kiki Bertens of Netherlands defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6/4, 6/3, while eighth seeded American, Sloane Stephens defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6/4, 2/6, 6/4.

The Madrid Open is one of the tournaments, like the Grand Slams, in which the male and female players compete for their respective titles. The ranking points are the same but the tournaments are classified as Masters 1000 by the Association of Tennis Players and Premier Mandatory by the Women’s Tennis Association.

The ranking points to be earned in Madrid would shake the WTA rankings. Naomi Osaka is only 316 points ahead of Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic. Romania’s Simona Halep, Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic follow with close margins.

As the stakes are higher for the women, all the top ranked 32 women players are in Madrid, except for Serena Williams (ranked 11) and Russia’s Maria Sharapova (ranked 30).

In other matches, Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania defeated Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6/3, 6/4 in a major upset.

The fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova survived match point in the second set before overcoming Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 5/7, 7/6 (5), 6/3.

In the men’s draw, Philip Kohlschreiber defeated Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6/2, 7/6 (5) and America’s Frances Tiafoe outlasted Nikoloz Basilashvilli of Georgia 6/7 (8), 6/3, 6/4. Serbia’s Lucas Djere defeated compatriot, Dusan Lajovic 6/4, 6/4, just as Russia’s Karen Khachanov defeated Spain’s Jaime Munar 6/4, 6/7(5), 6/3 and America’s Reilly Opelka defeated Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 7/6 (5), 6/4.

The great expectation in Madrid is the second round match between Rafael Nadal and the 18-year old sensation, Felix Auger-Aliassime, who had defeated fellow Canadian, Denis Shapovalov in the first round.


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