The third round of the Madrid Open concludes on the women’s side today with Iga Swiatek in the headline match of Sunday’s schedule. She will play Bernarda Pera for a spot in the next round, where she may play Qinwen Zheng for the second tournament running. The World No.1 leads the head to head 1-0, having won in Birmingham back in 2019 before her full breakthrough on the tour.
Pera has proved herself as a handy player on clay at least at the lower levels of the main tour, having won two WTA 250s on the surface in July last year. They have helped her to a career high of No. 32 and a win would see her move even higher by the end of next week most likely. She eased through her opener against Tatjana Maria, facing no break points in her 6-1 6-3 win against the German.
Swiatek carried on where she left off in Stuttgart, securing an easy win over lucky loser Julia Grabher 6-3 6-2. Her performance dropped off a little midway through the second set with the Austria mounting a mini comeback that was eventually snuffed out. “I feel like my opponent played pretty differently than most of the players. That was pretty tricky, especially coming from Stuttgart where we played on kind of a surface where everything was lower.” she said. “But I needed a couple of games to get used to that, and I would say technicalities and the rest of it we have it figured out, so we also see how the conditions in terms of whether gonna change here, but with my coach’s experience, I think it’s gonna be fine.”
This should be another straightforward one for Swiatek, who will be desperate to add Madrid to the list of titles she has won. While Pera likes to maintain an aggressive style, it seems unlikely that she will be able to be consistent enough throughout to pose a true threat to someone who is currently the standout play on clay. If she starts quick, she may be able to keep it close otherwise this is going to be another match that ends fairly quickly in the Pole’s favour.
Prediction – Iga Swiatek in straight sets