Four third round matches are confirmed after a fun day of tennis in Madrid on Monday and here’s a preview covering all of them including Sharapova vs Mladenovic and Stephens vs Ka.Pliskova. Read on for the preview…
1. Maria Sharapova (No.52) vs Kristina Mladenovic (No.22)
The match of day tomorrow will be this potentially juicy encounter between Sharapova and Mladenovic. Both players were on a four-match losing streak coming into this week but both have reversed their fortunes – Sharapova notched two convincing straight-set wins over Mihaela Buzarnescu and Irina-Camelia Begu while Mladenovic edged past Stuttgart finalist Vandeweghe and Prague semifinalist Zhang Shuai.
The last meeting between the two players was an absolute thriller and I expect a similar one this time round. Sharapova will be determined to get revenge, and I think her level is a little more solid than Mladenovic who can spray shots left, right and anywhere when it’s not her day. I’m going for Sharapova (and hoping she’s winning too, because the winner of this will possibly play Caro Wozniacki in the QFs…)
Final Prediction: Maria Sharapova d. Kristina Mladenovic in three sets
2.  Sloane Stephens (No.9) vs  Karolina Pliskova (No.6)
I’m surprised to see the seeds in this section have both come through their opening round matches and thus we will have a Stephens vs Pliskova third rounder, with the winner likely to play World No.1 Simona Halep. Stephens hasn’t been able to notch many wins outside of America so two wins against competent clay courters, Silvia Soler-Espinosa and Sam Stosur is decent. Pliskova continues her winning ways from Stuttgart and her streak is up to 7 wins after a three-set victory over Vika Azarenka. Pliskova wasn’t at her best, but showed superb movement and mental strength to see herself through.
I wonder if Stephens’ game plan for this one will be to go on the attack or stay back and defend from the baseline. You never know which kind of Sloane Stephens is going to appear on court while Pliskova’s reliable serve will probably always be there for her. Pliskova in two tight sets.
Final Prediction: Karolina Pliskova d. Sloane Stephens in two sets
3.  Caroline Garcia (No.7) vs  Julia Goerges (No.12)
Two clay-loving hard-hitting players battling it out on the red stuff? Count me in. After a difficult February and March for both Garcia and Goerges, they have managed to find back their mojo on the clay. Garcia made it to the semifinals of Stuttgart and is looking good in Madrid, while Goerges made a run to the finals in Charleston. Both players can be pretty erratic on court and I have no idea what to expect from them. Garcia seems to be pretty high on confidence right now so…?
Final Prediction: Caroline Garcia d. Julia Goerges in three sets
4. Kiki Bertens (No.20) vs  Caroline Wozniacki (No.2)
I won’t be surprised if this one produces an upset. Wozniacki hasn’t got her game going since winning the Australian Open, while clay court specialist Bertens has already gotten eight wins on the dirt this season. Wozniacki does lead the head to head 3-0 though and with her solid game, will obviously take advantage if Bertens loses focuses and sprays too many errors. Wozniacki in three sets for me.
Final Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki d. Kiki Bertens in three sets
Madrid predictions can be found here or at the top of the page!