A fantastic encounter is scheduled to take place in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open, as Chinese No. 1 Li Na and American youngster Sloane Stephens collide for a spot in the quarter-finals. This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour.
World No. 2 Li Na continued her comfortable stroll through the Madrid draw, this time working her way past fellow Chinese competitor Zheng Ji. While Zheng showed some life in the second set when she managed to find a break of serve, it was a short lived one, as Li would close out the match 6-2, 6-3. It was just her second victory on clay so far this season, as she had withdrawn from Stuttgart last week.
American No. 2 Sloane Stephens had a slightly more difficult run so far in Madrid, as she defeated Cetkovska 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and followed up with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Niculescu. Her second victory was an impressive one, as she rallied from a set down to set up the third round encounter with Li.
This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and will likely be an encounter that heavily favours the Chinese No. 1. She is certainly the more experienced and consistent of the two players, and is capable of withstanding Stephens’ best shots.
Prediction: Li Na in Straight Sets