WTA Madrid preview: All chasing for Petra Kvitova's throne

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WTA Madrid preview: All chasing for Petra Kvitova's throne

The third Premier Mandatory of the season will be a real pre-French Open test for all aspirants to the Parisian title. The Mutua Madrid Open 2019 will give us more precise indications regarding the status of the protagonists who will play on the fiery clay courts of Caja Mágica.

Naomi Osaka leads the draw and she could find Belinda Bencic or Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals of the top half. In the other quarter, Simona Halep could meet Elina Svitolina. In the bottom half, Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber will fight for the two places in their quarters, while Petra Kvitova could have her on her path Kiki Bertens or Jelena Ostapenko.

It will be a very interesting draw, with many challenges expected from early rounds and with many tennis players who will fight for the final victory. Naomi Osaka arrives to this appointment in a precarious psycho-physical form; should she hit the perfect week she could win, but the surface is not congenial to her tennis, and we will therefore have the opportunity to see her progress on clay courts.

Thinking of success for Petra Kvitova is not utopia; the Czech gets to this tournament well, and although it will be difficult to defend the title, she will have her chances. Good chances also for Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber.

Both have something to prove this season, and they could get fresh and motivated to Madrid. Given the trend of the season, I don't see many chances for Caroline Wozniacki, while the physical condition of Svitolina will be evaluated.

For physical and technical skills, Karolina Pliskova and Belinda Bencic could have problems on clay courts. There will be no Serena and Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova. WTA Mutua Madrid Open 2019 - Percentages: Petra Kvitova 35%, Simona Halep, 35% Angelique Kerber 30% Outsiders: Petra Martic, Elise Martens and Kiki Bertens