Wozniacki upset by Bertens; Halep keeps No.1 spot

WTA Madrid Simona Halep dismantles Mertens. Kvitova and Pliskova reach R3

Reigning champion Simona Halep edged closer to a third consecutive Madrid Open tennis title by beating Belgium's Elise Mertens on Tuesday.

World number one Simona Halep has announced she will play at Eastbourne this summer as part of her grass-court preparations before Wimbledon.

Entering the match, Halep was on a 15-match win streak in the Spanish capital and was aiming to become the first player in history to win three consecutive titles here - something even Rafael Nadal has yet to achieve.

Halep had won the title here both in 2016 and 2017 but the world number one struggled to impose her baseline game against the power of Pliskova, who won 6-4, 6-3. "It is the second match of the tournament".

Kvitova had more of a battle to put Olympic champion Monica Puig away - winning a second-set tie-break 10-8 - while Muguruza had to come from a set down to oust Donna Vekic 2-6 6-4 6-1. "I have a great feeling".

The Russian will meet Czech Petra Kvitova who overcame Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3.

She found her feet at the start of the second set and fought gamely to the end, saving four match points while serving in the final game before netting a routine forehand to cough up a fifth and conceding the match with a tame double fault.

Halep next faces Krystyna's twin sister, Karolina Pliskova, the sixth seed notching a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Sloane Stephens on Wednesday.

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In other action, No. 7 seed Caroline Garcia earned a 6-2, 6-4 victory 11th-seeded Julia Goerges - improving to 3-0 lifetime against the German.

Juan Martin del Potro marked his clay-season debut with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Damir Dzumhur in their second-round match.

Del Potro admitted that his persistent wrist injuries make clay more hard for him than other surfaces. That's the most important aspect to me, is getting to the next round, getting to the quarter-finals of this tournament. That's not a normal day for me! "I'm calm, because I've been doing well".

Del Potro's next match is against Dusan Lajovic, who defeated Richard Gasquet 7-6 (1), 7-6 (1).

The result matched that of a Dubai semifinal earlier this year, when Kasatkina got past Muguruza 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-1 in 2 1/2 hours.

Men (second round): Denis Shapovalov bt Benoit Paire 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4; First round: Roberto Bautista Agut bt Jared Donaldson 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4; Philipp Kohlschreiber bt Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-3; Robin Haase bt Hyeon Chung 6-2, 6-0.

Former world number one Sharapova fired 30 winners and nine aces in her victory.

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