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 Mutua Madrid Open 2013 WTA Preview

The 2013 Mutua Madrid Open will see world number one Serena Williams set out to defend the crown which she won against Victoria Azarenka last season. Williams will be the red hot favourite for the week, and delivering on the controversial blue clay that was laid down last year, which confounded a lot of players. This is one of four Premier Mandatory tournaments on the WTA calendar and that means all the big guns are out in action. The American powerhouse has already landed three titles this season and will head to Madrid with a 25-2 match record since the start of the year. She is generally tough to stop anyway, and has the ability to switch to clay with more ease than most players. She goes at the top of the draw and importantly on the opposite side from Maria Sharapova.

 

A likely semi final opponent for Williams would be Azarenka or claycourt specialist Sara Errani. You would still back the power of Williams in those situations. So while Williams is likely to control the first half of the draw, over the in the second you have to look at Maria Sharapova. The Russian kicked off her clay court season with a win in Stuttgart, taking the second title for the season. Sharapova has been to the final of each of her last three tournaments. On clay last year she was almost unstoppable, culminating in her taking the French Open title. Her only defeat on clay was at Madrid last year, in the quarter finals to Serena Williams. Would expect to see the Russian hit the final of Madrid this year though, but still ascendancy should go to Williams, who came from behind to beat Sharapova in the final of Miami in March. However, it was a close duel and Sharapova on clay has another level.

 

Not an exciting pick, but Williams or Sharapova should deliver, the former taking precedence. As an outside shot in the field, would consider two names. Germany’s Angelique Kerber has shown up well in big event, a semi at Indian Wells, a run to the final on clay in Monterrey and a semi defeat against Sharapova in Stuttgart. Could have a good run to the semi finals this time after losing in the quarter finals last term. She lost then against China’s Li Na, who makes great value for Madrid. She is in the same quarter as Williams, but Na is superb on clay and every now and again punches above her weight. The former French Open champion has the highest clay court win percentage behind Sharapova and the two Williams sisters of all active players.

 

 Tipster’s Best Tip

Outright Winner Maria Sharapova 3/1 at BetFair