Belinda Bencic defeated Karolina Pliskova in a thrilling tiebreak to claim a 4-3(1) victory and move through to the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, having secured a top-two finish in Group 1.
Fiona Ferro will also progress, having secured her second win from as many matches when she overcame Carla Suárez Navarro, 3-0, having already defeated Pliskova 3-0 on Monday.
Early in Tuesday’s action, the Czech former WTA World No.1 kept herself alive in the tournament thanks to a convincing 3-1 win over the Spaniard, who finishes the competition winless.
Pliskova impressed in that encounter, in which she marked the sole break of serve with a fist pump and then backed it up with some strong serving. Although Suárez Navarro responded by saving match point after a lengthy rally, she was made to pay for her slow start and was unable to claw her way back on terms, with her opponent sealing the match with an ace.
Results Day 2⃣— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) April 28, 2020
🇬🇧Murray d. 🇪🇸Nadal 3-0
🇨🇿Pliskova d. 🇪🇸Suárez 3-1
🇫🇷Paire d. 🇪🇸Nadal 3-1
🇫🇷Ferro d. 🇪🇸Suárez 3-0
🇮🇹Fognini d. 🇯🇵Nishikori 4-2
🇨🇭Bencic d. 🇨🇿Pliskova 4-3(1)#PlayAtHome | #MMOPEN Virtual Pro pic.twitter.com/yV9pAiJYh0
After Johanna Konta’s encounter with Elina Svitolina had to be postponed because of connection issues, Ferro added to Suárez Navarro’s misery. The Frenchwoman had been the pick of the players in Group 1 on the opening day with her whitewash victory over Pliskova and replicated that quality in a one-sided encounter.
That meant that Bencic’s match with Pliskova, the penultimate clash in Group 1, effectively became a knockout fixture, with the winner progressing and the loser forced to hang up their control pad for the week.
It proved to be a thrilling encounter in which both players pushed each other as they looked increasingly comfortable with the game.
After the set was tied at 3-3, the players went into a tiebreak in which Bencic played a succession of blinding shots to run away with the match.
The later encounter between Bencic and Ferro will decide who wins the group.