MADRID, Spain – Teen prodigies Amanda Anisimova and Marta Kostyuk will face off in the first qualifying round for the Mutua Madrid Open.
Anisimova, who has already enjoyed success on clay this season, having won in Bogota, her first WTA Tour title, is the top seed for qualifying as WTA World No.53.
The 17-year-old’s first test will come against 16-year-old Kostyuk, who made headlines at the 2018 Australian Open by defeating Peng Shuai in the first round and became the youngster player into the third round of a major in 21 years after defeating Olivia Rogowska.
Kostyuk, the WTA World No.320, has been entered in qualifying as a wildcard but has been handed the toughest possible draw against an opponent just 10 months senior to her in age but ranked more than 250 spots above her.
The winner will face either wildcard Irina Bara or No.11 seed Magdalena Rybarikova for a place in the main draw.
While Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No.2 qualifying seed, faces Kateryna Kozlova, Tatjana Maria, the No.3 seed, will face former WTA World No.2 Vera Zvonareva.
Another player handed a potentially tricky first-round task is Olympic champion Monica Puig, who will face Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who took out No.7 seed Viktoria Kuzmova in the Prague main draw.
The other leading seeds, Aleksandra Krunic, Kristina Mladenovic, Margarita Gasparyan and Andrea Petkovic will face Kristyna Pliskova, Ivana Jorovic, Mona Barthel and Olga Danilovic respectively in their first-round ties.
Australia’s Samantha Stosur will tackle clay specialist Laura Siegemund in the other standout encounter.
Players will have to negotiate two rounds of matches before earning a place in the main draw, where the eight qualifiers will help make up a field of 64, led by WTA World No.1 Naomi Osaka and including five wildcards.