With just a few days left until the end of 2021, we take a look back at the highlights of the women’s Mutua Madrid Open, an extended tournament that lasted two weeks from 26 April to 9 May. In the end, it was Aryna Sabalenka that claimed the title in a great final against world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. Here are five memorable moments from the WTA event, chosen by our director Feliciano López.
Sabalenka takes the throne
The two best players of 2021 played for the trophy in the Caja Mágica in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open. At the time, Aryna Sabalenka was the world No. 7, while Ashleigh Barty was the hot favourite and the WTA’s No. 1 player. It was the Belarusian who came out on top, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4, to become the eighth champion in Madrid (since 2009).
Having seen off Zvonareva, Kasatkina, Pegula, Mertens and Pavlyuchenkova en route to the final without losing a set, she took the baton from Kiki Bertens as the tournament’s new champion. The Belarusian and Dutch players share the Mutua Madrid Open winners’ circle with Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Aravane Rezai and Dinara Safina.
One of the standout performances at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open was produced by Paula Badosa. By reaching the semi-finals, she enjoyed the most successful run by a Spanish woman at the tournament, overhauling the mark set by Carla Suárez and Anabel Medina, who both reached the quarters.
She started her campaign against Krejcikova, then came back against Teichmann and Sevastova before beating Bencic in the quarter-finals. Just one step away from the final, she was unable to fend off Barty (4-6, 3-6). It was the first of many highlights in her season, which she finished at No. 8 in the WTA Ranking.
Osaka’s phone call
Naomi Osaka did not enjoy a particularly successful Mutua Madrid Open, bowing out in the second round. However, the Japanese player provided us with one of the funniest moments off the court. During her first days of preparation in the Caja Mágica, she received a call from her sister during her training session. This was her reaction:
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) April 25, 2021
Questions for the favourites
The best WTA players took this fun test before competition got underway at the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open. Players such as Barty, Kvitova, Svitolina and Halep chose which players they would go on holiday with, who they would trust to cook them a meal, which player they would like to be like and with whom they would go to a party and dance. This was Barty’s answer (you can see more on our YouTube channel):
Carla Suárez produced one of the happiest images of the Mutua Madrid Open. The Canary Islander, who had recently announced she had beaten the Hodgkin disease she was diagnosed with in August 2020, visited the Caja Mágica to complete her first training session as she prepared for her return.
“I’m very grateful to the tournament for this opportunity. Being in the Caja Mágica over these days and being able to do high-level training sessions really helps me prepare to return to competition”, Carla acknowledged in a relaxed interview. “I’ve been able to meet up with some of my peers for the first time in ages, feel the atmosphere of the tour that I miss so much and experience the competition bubble in person”.