Mertens, Sabalenka, Pavlyuchenkova, Muchova complete quarterfinal line-up in Madrid

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Third-round action wrapped up at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday. Elise Mertens, Aryna Sabalenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Karolina Muchova completed the quarterfinal field in the bottom half of the draw.

Elise Mertens of Belgium
Elise Mertens of Belgium

Elise Mertens upset Simona Halep on the Romanian’s favorite surface, recovering from a one-set deficit and then a break down in both the second and third sets.

Simona Halep of Romania

The 2016 and 2017 Madrid champion Halep was up a break at 4-3 in the second set and twice in the third set, at 3-2 and 4-3, but Mertens didn’t let the deficits get the best of her. Mertens showed resilience as her third-seeded opponent piled up a few too many errors late in the final two sets. The 13th-seeded Belgian rallied to win 4-6 7-5 7-5 in two hours and 34 minutes and record the equal-biggest win of her career.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Jessica Pegula of the United States

Mertens’ quarterfinal opponent will be fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka, as the Belarusian raced past American Jessica Pegula 6-1 6-2 in just 52 minutes.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia

World No.41 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova wasted a match point in the second-set tiebreak and twice failed to consolidate breaks in the third set, but third time she was lucky and eliminated eleventh seed Jennifer Brady 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3.

As Moo’s Tennis Blog pointed out, this is the first time since the 2020 Australian Open that Pavlyuchenkova has won three matches at a tournament and reached a quarterfinal. Victory over Brady is the Russian’s third Top 25 win at the 2021 Madrid Open, adding up to her best wins of the season — over No.23 Madison Keys and No.9 Karolina Pliskova.

Jennifer Brady of the United States
Jennifer Brady of the United States

Late at night, Karolina Muchova completed the quarterfinal line-up with a thrilling 6-0 6-7(9) 7-5 victory over 16th seed Maria Sakkari.

Maria Sakkari of Greece
Maria Sakkari of Greece

The world No.20 Muchova has now improved her perfect record against Top 20 players this season to 5-0.

Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic
Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic

Here are the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open quarterfinal pairs:

Ashleigh Barty [1] vs. Petra Kvitova [9]
Paula Badosa vs. Belinda Bencic [8]
Aryna Sabalenka [5] vs. Elise Mertens [13]
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Karolina Muchova

All the quarterfinals are scheduled for Wednesday. Action starts at 11:00 a.m. local time.


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