World number one Iga Swiatek overcame Wang Xiyu with the minimum of fuss on Thursday to progress to the third round of the Madrid Open.

Swiatek has yet to win the title in Madrid, which is the only clay-court European event at which the Pole has not triumphed, but she got off to a flying start with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Xiyu.

"I love this place. I got to know the city a little better last year," Swiatek said. "So this time I feel more comfortable around."

Next up for the 22-year-old is a third-round tie against 27th seed Sorana Cirstea on Saturday.

Data Debrief

Swiatek has registered 150 match wins on the WTA Tour since the start of 2022. Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff are the next best with 108 wins each.

She also became the first player born this century to claim 50 combined match wins in Madrid, Rome and Roland-Garros, since the inaugural women's singles event at the Madrid Open in 2009.

Coco Gauff made a flying start to her Madrid Open campaign on Thursday, recording the first double bagel main-draw win of her career as she cruised past Arantxa Rus to reach the round of 32.

Gauff needed just 51 minutes to see off 33-year-old Rus as she booked a meeting with Ukraine's Dayana Yamstremska for Saturday. 

The US Open champion lost just 18 points throughout the match – eight in the opener and 10 in the second set – as she put any doubts over her recent form to bed in emphatic fashion.

Gauff's power proved too much for Rus in the opener, the third seed winning 88 per cent of points behind her first serve and converting three of four break points to go a set up in just 23 minutes.

Rus brought up four break points midway through the second set, but when she failed to convert them, Gauff punished her in ruthless fashion by reeling off another three games then finishing things with a terrific forehand winner. 

Speaking after her win, the American said: "I played really well today. It was just one of those days for me… 6-0 6-0, I've never done that before, I'll probably never do it again."

Data Debrief: Gauff matches Azarenka, Halep feat

Gauff is just the third player to register a 6-0 6-0 win in the women's singles draw at the Madrid Open, following in the footsteps of two former world number ones in Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep.

The American, who only turned 20 last month, is also the youngest player to double bagel an opponent in any main-draw match on the WTA Tour since Iga Swiatek did so against Karolina Pliskova in the 2021 Italian Open final in Rome. 

Darwin Blanch presented little challenge for Rafael Nadal, who dropped just one game in a convincing 6-1 6-0 triumph at the Madrid Open.

Nadal is feeling his way back to fitness, but 16-year-old qualifier Blanch offered little resistance to the 22-time major champion on Thursday.

Making his farewell appearance at the Madrid Open, where he has won five titles, Nadal needed just 64 minutes to progress to round two.

"I think today I played against an opponent with a great future in front [of him], but today, still making mistakes," said Nadal.

"I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks. It worked well. I'm happy to be through and I wish him all the very best for the future."

Nadal's reward is a rematch with Alex de Minaur, who he lost to last week in Barcelona.

Data Debrief

This game saw the largest age gap (21 years, 117 days) between two opponents in the history of ATP Masters 1000 events.

Nadal has now registered 57 wins at the Madrid Open, which is 20 clear of any other player. 

Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the Madrid Open by Liudmila Samsonova after an entertaining second-round battle on Thursday.

Having won her first match on clay for two years against Greet Minnen a day earlier, Osaka was able to force a final set against 15th seed Samsonova but ultimately fell to defeat.

Samsonova won a close encounter 6-2 4-6 7-5 to book a clash with American Madison Keys – who defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets – in the next round.

Osaka had beaten Samsonova at Indian Wells last month and came close to securing another victory as she recovered well from losing the opening set.

But the Japanese star was broken to fall 5-6 behind in the final set, and the Russian made no mistake in ruthlessly closing out the victory.

Data Debrief: Samsonova ends losing streak

This was a crucial win for Samsonova, who came into the match having lost four consecutive contests, including that Indian Wells defeat to Osaka on March 9.

Samsonova did apply plenty of pressure in the final set – forcing five break points compared to just one for Osaka – and was ultimately rewarded in the closing stages of a contest that lasted two hours and 22 minutes.

Victoria Azarenka made light work of progressing into the round of 32 at the Madrid Open and she made history in the progress.

Azarenka, a two-time finalist in Madrid, despatched Tatjana Maria 6-3 6-1 on Thursday.

It brought up her 200th victory at WTA 1000 events, which makes her the first woman to hit that milestone since the format was introduced in 2009.

The former world number one needed just 81 minutes on court to get the job done, and will face Sara Sorribes Tormo in the next round.

Data Debrief

This was Azarenka's first meeting with Maria, and her service game was excellent, with the Belarusian winning 63.2 per cent of her first-serve points. She also saved five break points, having offered up seven, and converted six going the other way.

Azarenka, who has won 10 WTA 1000 events, is 14 clear of next-best Simona Halep (186) on the list of women with the most WTA 1000 match wins. 

Maria Lourdes Carle made a splash at the Madrid Open on Wednesday, as the qualifier sent Emma Raducanu packing.

World number 82 Carle stepped into the void to fill in for Karolina Pliskova, who withdrew prior to the end of the qualifying rounds, to face 2021 US Open champion Raducanu.

It is just the second time Carle has reached the main draw of a WTA 1000 event, and she ensured it would be a memorable campaign after a 6-2 6-2 victory over Raducanu, who is now ranked at world number 221, though has enjoyed something of a return to form this season.

Raducanu reached the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart Grand Prix last week, going down to world number one Iga Swiatek, but has recently enjoyed victories over the likes of Angelique Kerber and Caroline Garcia.

Data Debrief

Carle is the first player from Argentina to defeat a former women's singles grand slam Champion since Nadia Podoroska overcame Serena Williams in Rome in 2021. 

The 24-year-old is making just her sixth WTA main draw appearance, with her first WTA 1000 appearance having come in Miami in March.

Rafael Nadal is unsure as to whether he will be fit enough to feature at the French Open.

Nadal is embarking on a swansong season, having indicated he will retire after the 2024 campaign.

The 37-year-old is set to make his farewell appearance at the Madrid Open this week, with his campaign starting against American teenager Darwin Blanch on Thursday.

Nadal, now ranked 512 in the world, has played just five Tour-level matches this year, as he makes his comeback from yet another injury lay-off.

And the 14-time Roland Garros champion acknowledged on Wednesday that he would be unlikely to play at the French Open should it be taking place this week.

"If I was in Paris today, I wouldn't go out to play," he said.

"I don't think I'll be able to play at 100 per cent, but it's important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid.

"It means a lot to me to play on this court where I've had some great moments."

Thankfully for Nadal, the French Open does not take place until late May, giving him time to get fit.

"If I arrive in Paris the way I feel today, I will not play," he said.

"I will play Roland Garros if I feel competitive. If I can play, I play. If I can't play, I can't. It won't be the end of the world or the end of my career. I still have goals after Roland Garros, like the Olympics.

"Few weeks [ago], I didn't know if I would be able to play again on the professional tour. It's not perfect but at least I am playing and I can enjoy again, especially in the tournaments that are so emotional for me.

"I'm able to enjoy the fun that I can say, probably, goodbye on court. Without trying to confuse anyone, I don't know what's going to happen in the next three weeks.

"I'm going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can't, I can't. I'm going to Paris if I feel like I'm good enough. I'm going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete."

Nadal played three times in Brisbane in January, losing to qualifier Jordan Thompson and subsequently missing the Australian Open.

He featured twice in Barcelona earlier in April, losing to Alex De Minaur in the round of 32.

Nadal has won five titles in Madrid, though, and the tournament holds a special place for him, as he underlined his determination to compete.

He added: "Some moments I find myself enjoying being on court, playing against the best players again and I feel myself, more or less competitive, and other moments I feel limitations and it’s difficult.

"The goal is to be on court, enjoy it as long as possible. I mean, that's the thing, enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time on the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that gives me everything in terms of support.

"I am here giving myself a chance. If at some moment my situation improves, if I am able to find better feelings in my body, I need to be ready."

Naomi Osaka comprehensively dispatched Greet Minnen on Tuesday to make a winning start to her Madrid Open campaign and earn a first win on clay for two years.

Japanese star Osaka triumphed 6-4 6-1 in only 79 minutes, swiftly booking a second-round clash against Liudmila Samsonova.

Osaka reached the last 32 at the WTA 1000 events on the hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami but had lost to Martina Trevisan at the first hurdle in the Open de Rouen on clay at WTA 250 level last week.

This was therefore a welcome return to form against Belgian qualifier Minnen and represented her first triumph on the surface since beating Anastasia Potapova at this tournament in 2022.

After an even start to the contest, the first set was level at 4-4. But Osaka then assumed full control, winning eight of nine games to race to victory.

Data Debrief: Osaka dominates on serve

Osaka was not broken at all in the match and allowed Minnen only one break-point opportunity across the whole contest.

She fired down eight aces to only three double faults, and won 13 of her 16 first-serve points in the second set.

Carlos Alcaraz considers "dangerous" Jannik Sinner as the world's best player and the man to beat at the Madrid Open.

Sinner has won three titles in 2024, including his maiden grand slam crown at the Australian Open, and is the top seed in the Spanish capital.

Novak Djokovic is absent from the Masters 1000 tournament but will remain the top men's player regardless of how far Sinner advances.

And while the Italian's only appearance on clay this year saw him lose to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters, Alcaraz knows full well what he is up against should the pair cross paths.

"He's dangerous. He's the best player in the world right now," Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament news conference.

"I think [some people] think his tennis doesn't suit well to the clay, but he has had results on clay as well.

"He can win every tournament he goes to, and obviously I'm fighting with him and with Novak to be world number one. I'm trying to stay there, but honestly it is going to be difficult."

World number three Alcaraz was unable to compete in Monte-Carlo, as well as the Barcelona Open, due to an arm injury.

However, the Spaniard is relishing the chance of returning to clay-court action on home soil when his pursuit of a 14th Tour-level title begins against either Arthur Rinderknech or Alexander Shevchenko on Saturday.

"For me, it's really important to be at 100 per cent here in this tournament," he said. "Playing here is so special.

"It's the tournament where a lot of family can come to watch my matches, a lot of friends as well, and for me it's really special to play in front of my home crowd as well.

"I would love to play at 100 per cent just to give them the opportunity to enjoy my tennis and give myself the chance to get a good result here."

Alcaraz is aiming to become the first player to win three successive Madrid Open crowns and is on a collision course to meet Sinner in the final.

The 20-year-old ended Sinner's winning streak with victory in their BNP Paribas Open final showdown last month, with that a rare blemish for the latter.

While Sinner has been the best male player this year, boasting a record of 25 wins to two losses, he believes there is still room for improvement.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself," he told reporters ahead of the tournament. "I'm living a very positive moment, winning a lot of matches.

"I just try to keep going like this. In my mind, I know that I can and have to improve if I want to win more.

"I am searching for new opportunities and I feel like that every tournament I play, there can be a good opportunity trying to show that my level has raised. 

"Showing what I have improved and that's for sure something that I would like to do here. This is a new opportunity, new tournament and we'll see how it goes."

Boris Becker says he is “working hard with the authorities” to return to the UK and Wimbledon in 2025.

The three-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion was deported from the UK in December 2022 after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for hiding £2.5m of assets and loans in a bankruptcy fraud case.

Becker cannot return to the UK until October 2024 at the earliest following his deportation, but the 56-year-old German plans to return to the tournament he says is “in my DNA” as soon as possible.

“Wimbledon has been my favourite tournament as a player, coach and commentator,” Becker said at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid.

“It’s unique, you can’t compare it.

“I lived in Wimbledon a long time so I’m working hard with the authorities to have all the applications ready to be back for next year. We’re working on 2025.

“It’s a part of my life. It’s in my DNA, you can’t deny that.”

Asked if he would be back in the Wimbledon commentary box, Becker replied: “I hope so.”

Becker has not been involved in tennis since stepping down as Holger Rune’s head coach at the start of February.

The pair spent less than four months together, but in that time the 20-year-old qualified for the ATP finals in Italy.

::The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit www.laureus.com

Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has announced her retirement from tennis.

The 30-year-old Spaniard won the French Open in 2016 before lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court the following summer but she had not played a competitive match since January 2023.

At a press conference where she was announced as a Laureus Ambassador, Muguruza said: “If 25 years ago, when I started hitting my first tennis balls, someone had told me that I would become a professional tennis player, that I would fulfil my dream of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon, that I would become number one in the world and win the WTA Finals, I would have thought this person was crazy.

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“Tennis has given me a lot in this first part of my life. It has been a fantastic journey in which I have experienced unique situations. I have travelled all over the world and experienced many different cultures.

“I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have helped and accompanied me throughout this chapter, because without them I would not have been able to get here.

“I have grown and matured in a very different way than what can be considered normal, and now I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, which will surely be linked in some way to tennis and sports.

“I hope that my collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good is the beginning of many more projects in which I can dedicate myself and help young people through sport.”

Muguruza turned professional in 2012 and reached her first grand slam final three years later at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Serena Williams.

But the big-hitting Spaniard took revenge in 2016 when she stunned Williams in the final at Roland Garros, and a year later she beat Venus Williams to add the Wimbledon trophy to her collection.

She climbed to the top of the rankings in September 2017, where she stayed for four weeks, but consistency was not Muguruza’s strong point and she slipped down the standings before a resurgence in 2020.

Muguruza reached her fourth grand slam final at the Australian Open, losing to American Sofia Kenin, and she returned to the world’s top three at the end of 2021 after winning the WTA Finals for the first time.

But the next season saw her plummet back down the rankings and her retirement comes as no surprise given her long hiatus from the sport.

Emma Raducanu’s progress in the Stuttgart Open was halted in straight sets by world number one Iga Swiatek.

The Polish four-time grand slam champion, in her 100th week on top of the ATP world rankings, prevailed 7-6 (2) 6-3 to set up a semi-final showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.

It was, however, an encouraging quarter-final performance from Raducanu, who has slipped to 303 in the world rankings after a torrid 2023.

Raducanu came in to the contest on a high after winning four matches in a row for the first time since her US Open title in 2021 and raised confidence levels were reflected in the opening exchanges.

Several booming returns from the 21-year-old Briton turned a 0-40 deficit into an immediate break of serve, but Swiatek levelled after edging a second game that featured seven deuces.

That see-saw battle set the tone for a marathon 70-minute opening set which produced plenty of high-quality ground strokes from both sides of the net.

The match went with serve from that point, with Raducanu superbly holding her nerve at 5-4 and 6-5 down to force the first set to a tie-break.

Swiatek completely dominated the tie-break though, winning the first four points before closing it out 7-2.

Raducanu was quickly in trouble again in the second set, falling 2-0 behind and covered in clay after losing her footing on the baseline.

She continued to fight and fended off break points in her next two service games to stay in the match.

But Swiatek kept up the pressure to finally end Raducanu’s resistance to move in to the last four.

Emma Raducanu says the best is yet to come as she continued her excellent form by making it through to the quarter-final of the Stuttgart Open.

The 2021 US Open champion beat Linda Noskova 6-0 7-5 in Germany to set up a mouth-watering last-eight tie with world number one Iga Swiatek on Friday.

Raducanu is making her way back after a torrid 2023 but looked excellent in winning her two ties in the Billie Jean King Cup at the weekend and then followed that up by swatting home favourite Angelique Kerber aside in Wednesday’s first round.

She stepped it up again to dispose of the world number 31 to set up a repeat of the 2022 quarter-final with Swiatek.

Despite all her troubles since winning the US Open in 2021, Raducanu never doubted the good times would return.

“I am not too surprised because I have been working really hard on the training court and I knew it was just a matter of time,” she said in her on-court interview.

“This isn’t my best I still have a long way to go. I am just really happy the rewards are starting to come on the match court.

“You know how it is when you are training day in, day out you feel like the results aren’t going your way. It is never that far away, that is something I am learning.

“Going through everything I have been through gives you a different appreciation, there is nothing like playing in front of fans and playing good tennis.”

Her progress will face its toughest test when against the Polish world number one, who is a master of the clay court, but the Briton knows she is not under any pressure.

Raducanu, whose world ranking of 303 will shoot up, added: “We played here two years ago in the quarters, I have come a long way in two years, and she has achieved a lot, I have nothing to lose, I can swing and enjoy it.

“Hopefully recover in time. I’m good.”

Emma Raducanu claimed an emphatic 6-2 6-1 win over former two-time champion Angelique Kerber in the last 32 of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

Fresh from helping Great Britain reach the finals of the Billie Jean Cup at the weekend, Raducanu continued her promising form on clay by breezing past the home favourite.

Both Raducanu and Kerber were playing as wild cards in Stuttgart, with the Briton tumbling down the rankings after time out to undergo three surgeries.

Meanwhile former world number one Kerber only recently returned from 18 months out on maternity leave.

Raducanu got off to a flying start by breaking Kerber in the opening game and despite an immediate response from the German, the 2021 US Open champion took control and claimed the first set in 41 minutes.

Kerber was broken again at the start of the second set and although she managed to haul back level, Raducanu stepped up a gear and shrugged off a brief visit from the trainer to wrap up an emphatic win.

Also in Stuttgart, reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff rallied from 4-2 down in the deciding set to overcome fellow American and world number 134 Sachia Vickery 6-3 4-6 7-5.

And Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur finally snapped a five-game losing streak to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 2-6 6-3 7-6 (1), telling reporters: “I thought about withdrawing so many times because I couldn’t take another loss.”

In Rouen, Naomi Osaka’s return to clay was cut short by a 6-4 6-2 first round defeat to Martina Trevisan.

Like Kerber, Osaka only recently returned to the tour following maternity leave, and was competing as a wild card.

In the Oeiras Ladies Open in Portugal, Britain’s fifth-seeded Harriet Dart suffered a 6-3 6-1 defeat to home player Matilde Jorge.

Rafael Nadal’s latest comeback bid came to an end as he was well beaten 7-5 6-1 by fourth seed Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open.

The 37-year-old was playing just his second tournament in 15 months after suffering another hip problem at his comeback event in Brisbane in January.

And having intimated that this will be his final year before retirement, Nadal’s defeat was likely to mark his final appearance at a tournament he has won 12 times.

Having overcome Italian Flavio Cobolli in the opening round, Nadal faced a much sterner test against the in-form De Minaur and was sent scampering around the court in a tight opening set which was edged by the Australian.

De Minaur went on to step up a gear, securing a double break over the Spaniard and racing over the line behind a strong service game on which he did not drop a single point in the second set.

Jack Draper made the most of a rain delay to defeat wild card Rudolf Molleker and reach the quarter-finals of the BMW Open in Munich.

German Molleker, ranked 179th, had been the better player in the first set but a brief stoppage ahead of the second set changed the momentum of the contest.

Draper began to assert his powerful game after the resumption and lost only two more games, pulling away to claim a 4-6 6-1 6-1 victory.

In the last eight the British number two, who is ranked 46th, will take on either third seed Taylor Fritz or Spanish qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas.

Speaking in an on-court interview, Draper said: “I think Rudy played an amazing level in the first set. The conditions were very rainy and very slow. In the second and third, the sun comes out and I start feeling better. I’m really proud of the way I played.”

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