3
0
0

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

  • Insider Doubles Take: US Open

    August 31, 2016
    WTA Insider David Kane | French Open champs Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic lead a US Open field rocked by the split of former Co-No.1s Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.
  • Makarova On 1R Rematch With Serena

    August 29, 2016
    WTA Insider David Kane | From semifinal showdown to first round affair, Ekaterina Makarova is ready for a rematch with World No.1 Serena Williams on Tuesday at the US Open.
  • Kvitova Kicks Off New Haven Defense

    August 22, 2016
    It was more complicated than Petra Kvitova would have liked, but the three-time Connecticut Open champion came back from a set down to advance against Louisa Chirico.
To The Top
3