2
0
1

Battle For No.1 Heads To Madrid

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams' battle for the No.1 ranking is an intriguing sub-plot at this year's Mutua Madrid Open.

Published May 03, 2013 12:21

Battle For No.1 Heads To Madrid
Maria Sharapova

MADRID, Spain - Twelve months ago, all the talk heading into the Mutua Madrid Open was about the courts - or rather the color of them. This time around, the narrative centers on the action on it, particularly the battle for top spot in the rankings.

Just like last year, Maria Sharapova arrives in the Spanish capital as World No.2 and fresh from victory in Stuttgart. In 2013, however, it is not Victoria Azarenka she is chasing down, but Serena Williams.

Sharapova's victory in Stuttgart narrowed the gap between No.1 and No.2 to just 875 points, and with Williams defending the 1,000 points she gained after winning last year, there is all to play for next week.

Like her Russian rival, Williams opened up her clay court season with a successful title defense, in Charleston, and on the even quicker courts of the Caja Mágica she will be hard to stop.

Victory in Madrid for either woman, both of whom open up against qualifiers, will guarantee top spot, although with the entire Top 20 present, the path to the title is littered with potential banana skins.

While she may not figure in the shake up for No.1, Azarenka arrives in Madrid with a perfect 17-0 record for the season. Now recovered from the ankle injury that forced her out of Indian Wells and Miami, the Belarusian, a runner-up here on her past two visits, has been handed a tricky opener against a resurgent Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as she looks to build again for the French Open.

"I feel good," Azarenka said in her pre-tournament press conference. "I'm really glad to be back playing, and can't wait to start the tournament and see where my game is at. It's a very good place to start. It's a very competitive field right away, so I'm glad to be a part of it. It's a great preparation for the French Open."

Also sure to be in the mix are Agnieszka Radwanska, Li Na, Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova, all of whom have enjoyed success on the clay in recent times.

Between them, the remainder of the Top 8 has 10 titles on the surface, including triumphs for Li at Roland Garros and Kvitova in Madrid in 2011.

Share this page!

Related news

  • French Open Sunday: Radwanska On A Roll

    May 29, 2016
    The Round 16 kicks off in Roland Garros and Agnieszka Radwanska, Garbiñe Muguruza and Simona Halep highlight the bottom-half action. Preview the matchups right here.
  • French Open Friday: Renewed Rivalries

    May 27, 2016
    Samantha Stosur, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Barbora Strycova will try to turn around unfavorable head-to-heads as the first week of Roland Garros comes to a close.
  • Venus Cruises Past Chirico

    May 26, 2016
    Former No.1 Venus Williams faced few problems against American qualifier and Mutua Madrid Open semifinalist Louisa Chirico to reach the third round at Roland Garros.
To The Top
3