Emma Raducanu draws former No. 1 in Madrid opener, Naomi Osaka gets favorable draw

Raducanu set for a tough first-round matchup in Madrid while Osaka had more luck.

by Dzevad Mesic
Emma Raducanu draws former No. 1 in Madrid opener, Naomi Osaka gets favorable draw
© Getty Images Sport - Alex Grimm

Emma Raducanu has received a pretty tough first-round draw in Madrid as the Briton is set to clash against former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, while Naomi Osaka had more luck and she will be starting her campaign against a qualifier. 

Raducanu, who was awarded a main draw wildcard into Madrid, is slated to play at the tournament for the second time after previously debuting at the tournament in 2022. Two years ago, Raducanu did solid as she won her opening two matches before losing to Anhelina Kalinina in the round-of-16. 

Last year, Raducanu came to Madrid but pulled out of the tournament at the last moment due to wrist issues and shortly after had three surgeries. But this year, Raducanu is fully healthy and set to take on two-time Grand Slam finalist Pliskova. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

When Raducanu, 21, and 32-year-old Pliskova meet in Madrid, it will be their first meeting. 

Raducanu faces Pliskova, Osaka a qualifier

While Raducanu is set to take on a Grand Slam finalist and a former world No, 1, Osaka will learn her Madrid first-round opponent only after the qualifying event concludes. 

When 26-year-old Osaka kicks off her Madrid campaign, she will be making her fifth main draw appearance at Caja Magica. In the past, Osaka had one good Madrid run - she made the quarterfinal in 2019 before losing to Belinda Bencic. In her last two Madrid appearances, Osaka suffered back-to-back second-round losses in 2021 and 2022. 

For this year, Osaka is hoping to develop on clay and become a better player on the slowest surface. Considering everything, drawing a qualifier - which likely means Osaka will have a favorable first-round matchup - certainly helps the Japanese tennis star. 

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

This past week, Raducanu started her clay season in Stuttgart while Osaka played in Rouen. Raducanu reached the quarterfinal in Stuttgart before losing to Iga Swiatek, while Osaka suffered a Rouen first-round loss to Martina Trevisan.

Emma Raducanu Naomi Osaka