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Sara Errani, Eugenie Bouchard, Benoit Paire among familiar faces to qualify at Madrid Open
Aslan Karatsev and Dayana Yastremska also punched tickets into the main draw of the combined 1000 event Tuesday.
Published Apr 25, 2023
MAIN DRAW MATCH POINT: Muchova d. Kontaveit
A rundown of some familiar faces who earned main-draw places at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday by way of qualifying:
How does one not start with Errani? The 35-year-old with a No. 304 ranking next to her name battled past Jodie Burrage, 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-2, in two hours and 33 minutes.
Errani is through to the main draw of a WTA 1000 for the first time since 2019 Dubai. In between for the 2012 French Open runner-up with a career-high ranking of No. 5, eight unsuccessful attempts to qualify at this level and a bulk of her time spent on the lower-level tiers of the sport. In Madrid for the first time in five years and a semifinalist 10 years ago, the Italian seeks now her first main-draw at the event since 2015.
Who could forget the last time fellow former world No. 5 Bouchard competed at this tournament? The year was 2017 and the Canadian reached the quarterfinals after winning a feisty second-rounder over Maria Sharapova and followed it up with a win over world No. 2 Angelique Kerber.
Now ranked No. 285 and nearly nine years on since her Wimbledon final appearance, Bouchard is back in the main draw here thanks to a comprehensive victory. The 29-year-old dismissed Elizabeth Mandlik, 6-3, 6-2, winning 59 percent of her return points to break the American six times in the 79-minute contest.
At the end of the 2021 season, Karatsev was named the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the Year in a memorable campaign that saw him reach the Australian Open semifinals as a qualifier, upstage both Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev and win a pair of ATP titles. A year and a half later, the 29-year-old finds himself trying to work himself back into the Top 100.
A strong showing this week can help that cause and he’s looked good in qualifying thus far. After dropping four games in his opening match, Karatsev dominated recent Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Jan-Lennard Struff, the top qualifying seed, by a 6-4, 6-2 scoreline.
Paire will get another shot at securing his first tour-level win of the year. The Frenchman saved a match point in his opening qualifying win over Francesco Passaro, then rallied for another three-set win over Kaichi Uchida to punch his main-draw ticket.
The former world No. 18 has spent most of his season on the ATP Challenger Tour with 10 appearances there. He won the Puerta Vallarta Challenger in March to get back inside the Top 200, though was unable to qualify in Monte Carlo or Barcelona coming into the Spanish capital
Yastremska has gone just 3-7 in tour-level main draws this season and dropped down as the world No. 149. Entering this week, the 22-year-old had successfully qualified twice in six attempts thus far in 2023.
Yastremska made it three for seven Tuesday, taking down the No. 2 seed Julia Grabner, 6-1, 6-2. The Odessa native punished the Austrian’s second serve, taking 20 of 23 points. Last year, Yastremska also came through qualies and reached the second round, so backing up that result would aid in not sliding down the WTA rankings furtherg.