Four-time major champion Naomi Osaka and former Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig are among the five main-draw wildcards for the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open, which begins on April 28.
The former World No.1 Osaka was a quarterfinalist at the WTA 1000 tournament in 2019. After playing a limited schedule in 2021 while dealing with mental health struggles, the 24-year-old gave notice of her resurgence with a run to the Miami final last month.
Following her loss to Iga Swiatek there, Osaka declared her intention of committing to the clay season and using that as a springboard to chase down a return to No.1.
Puig, whose run at Rio 2016 made for a memorable Olympic underdog story, has been sidelined by injury for most of the past three years. The Puerto Rican has undergone three surgeries since 2019 - the first on her elbow and two on her shoulder - and was unable to defend her gold medal at last year's Tokyo Olympic Games. Puig has not competed since Roland Garros 2020 and last won a match at Luxembourg 2019.
The remaining three main-draw wildcards have been awarded to rising teenage talents: Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk, 19; China's Zheng Qinwen, 19; and the Czech Republic's Linda Fruhvirtova, 16.
Kostyuk debuted in the Top 50 at the end of 2021 after reaching three semifinals on the Hologic WTA Tour that season, while Zheng has rocketed into the Top 100 this year and collected a notable victory over Sloane Stephens in Charleston. Fruhvirtova turned heads in Miami by reaching the fourth round as a wildcard ranked No.279, upsetting Elise Mertens and Victoria Azarenka en route.
The tournament's six qualifying wildcards also skew young. Erika Andreeva, 17, was the 2020 Roland Garros girls' finalist and has risen from No.645 to No.252 in the rankings in the past 12 months. Andreeva collected her first Top 100 win over Kristina Mladenovic in St. Petersburg qualifying in February.
Alexandra Eala, 16, became the first Filipina to win a WTA main-draw match last year in Cluj-Napoca and is fresh off her first ITF W25 title two weeks ago in Chiang Rai. Eala currently sits at a career high of No.411.
Jessica Bouzas Maneiro, 19, provides local representation among the wildcards. The No.327-ranked Spaniard is already a five-time ITF titlist and took Aliaksandra Sasnovich to three sets on her WTA qualifying debut in Madrid last year.
The qualifying wildcards are rounded out by China's Wang Xiyu, fresh off a run to the Palm Harbor ITF W100 final last week, the United States Hailey Baptiste and France's Fiona Ferro.