By Landon Smith

WTA Tennis 2021 Mutua Madrid Open Info, Prediction and Tips

The European clay swing heads to Spain this week for the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open, a WTA 1000 event that is set to begin on 29 April.
2021 WTA Mutua Madrid Open
Date Apr 29-May 8, 2021
Location Madrid, Spain
Current Champion (7) Kiki Bertens (NLD)
Level Masters 1000
Surface Clay
Prize Money --
TV Tennis Channel

Leading the field for the 12th edition of the tournament are seed Ashleigh Barty, defending champion Kiki Bertens and former three-time winner Petra Kvitova.

Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek play their first clay court event of the season, with Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka.

Ashleigh Barty is set to open her campaign with a first-round showdown against Shelby Rogers, an opponent she has beaten three times so far this year. The recently crowned Stuttgart champion has been forced to work hard for Rogers in a few games, and she can expect some resistance here too.

Former three-time champion Petra Kvitova is in an equally dire situation. Kvitova, who likes to play in relatively quicker conditions here, will start with a spiteful match against Marie Bouzkova, who surprised her at the Western and Southern Open last year.

Fit players Marketa Vondrousova and Veronika Kudermetova, as well as big names like Angelique Kerber and Kiki Bertens, pack the Kvitova section even more. But if the Czech can get in shape early and avoid the three grueling shots, she will think about her chances of another deep run here in Madrid.

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Elina Svitolina seems to have taken off at the start of the clay court season. She has posted good results in recent weeks, but she will have to be in her prime to defend herself against strong players Jil Tiechmann and Paula Baodsa.

Two Grand Slam winners, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens, are locked in an uphill battle in the first round. And while the Spaniard is a clear favorite given her recent results, she certainly cannot afford to take her opponent lightly.

Simona Halep, meanwhile, will have her eyes set on a rematch for her loss in the Stuttgart semi-final to Sabalenka. But she first she will have to handle the likes of Sara Sorribes Tormo and Elise Mertens.

The Romanian looked solid in her few matches in Stuttgart and should have enough in the tank to survive those first few matches.

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By Landon Smith, on 28 Apr 2021, at 8:12p ET