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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The world No.20 Muchova has now improved her perfect record against Top 20 players this season to 5-0.
Here are the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open quarterfinal pairs:
Ashleigh Barty  vs. Petra Kvitova 
Paula Badosa vs. Belinda Bencic 
Aryna Sabalenka  vs. Elise Mertens 
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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