Danielle Collins hasn’t played much tennis since reaching the Australian Open final but would have been pleased with her quarter-final run in Miami. An opening round win over a returning Monica Puig would have also boosted the confidence of the fiery American as she looks to build momentum towards Roland Garros. Collins has had good results in the past on clay and will believe that this year is the year she makes another deep run in Paris.
Next for Collins is another player returning from injuries in the form of Bianca Andreescu. The Canadian made her return in Stuttgart and would consider even playing matches a success right now as COVID put her Roland Garros preparations on hold last year. Now Andreescu looks to make gradual steps towards the goal of winning a second grand slam which her talent desires.
This will be a very entertaining match that puts both players’ attack and defence to the test with neither player having played much recently, their consistency will be pushed to the limit. Ultimately this match could come too soon in Andreescu’s comeback to give Collins any consistent trouble.
Prediction: Collins in three sets.
Maria Sakkari  v Daria Kasatkina H2H & Match Fundamentals
Maria Sakkari had to battle hard in her opening round with a two and a half hour victory over Madison Keys. The Greek is looking to rebuild her form and fitness after suffering GI illness last week. Sakkari will look to take advantage of an open top half of the draw and cement her place as one of the contenders for Roland Garros next month.
Next for Sakkari is the craft of Daria Kasatkina who will look to turn her season around on her favourite surface after a tricky last few tournaments. The Russian’s variety can cause any player problems and has the ability to turn defence into attack with ease. A win here for Kasatkina could be the start of a big clay court season as she will aim for a second week run in Paris.
Kasatkina’s game style has proved tricky for Sakkari in the past and the same could be expected here with the Greek still finding her way into form. However the world number four’s resilience mixed with power should edge through on slightly quicker conditions in an important match for both players.
Naomi Osaka sent a massive statement to the rest of the WTA tour with a convincing opening round victory over Anastasia Potapova. Now Osaka searches for consistency in Madrid as she continues to rise up the rankings over the next few months and keep building towards Roland Garros. If Osaka can find the right balance between attack and defence than she can mount a serious challenge in Paris next month.
Next for Osaka is clay-court specialist Sara Sorribes Tormo who has beaten the Japanese star on a Spanish clay court once before. Sorribes Tormo’s brutal baseline game cause her opponents nightmares as she likes to extend the rallies and has extraordinary resilience. The Spaniard’s mental strength allows her freedom in her playing style which means she has no fear even against the best opponents in the world.
This will be a test of Osaka’s mental strength as she not only competes against a tough opponent but also the crowd. The former world number one will have to remain consistently aggressive in the right moments if she is to win this match. However the advantage will go to Sorribes Tormo who will believe she can outlast Osaka and seal another famous win on home soil.
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