Since the Mutua Madrid Open opened its doors to the women’s game (WTA 1000), it has followed a similar trend to that observed in the men’s event; only the best players in the world are able to reach the finals in the Caja Mágica. So much so that a total of eight women that have reached number one in the world know what it is to play in a title decider in the Manolo Santana Stadium.
The crown at the first edition in 2009 went to a player who reached the pinnacle of the rankings the same season, Dinara Safina, beating an opponent in the final who would herself be the world No. 1 a few months later; Caroline Wozniacki. It was a sign of things to come.
Sisters Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and Simona Halep are some of the biggest stars to have reached the last round in Madrid. Also, Grand Slam champions like Petra Kvitova, Aryna Sabalenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova have also achieved the feat. The superstars have always dominated the Mutua Madrid Open.
The player who took it upon herself to inaugurate the Mutua Madrid Open winners circle was then world No. 1 Dinara Safina. As the first seed, she delivered on expectations by etching her name into the trophy , defeating Li Na (R32), Lucie Safarova (R16), Alona Bondarenko (QF), Patty Schnyder (SF) and Caroline Wozniacki (F) along the way. The result meant that Dinara and her brother Marat became the first sibling champions of the event. Only two years later, Safina announced her retirement from tennis, playing her last professional event in the Caja Mágica. In 2015, she became a member of the tournament’s staff as the intermediary between the players and organisers.
Weeks at No. 1: 26
She came very close to lifting the Mutua Madrid Open title, but eventually had to settle with being a runner-up. Caroline Wozniacki, the woman with the tenth-longest tenure at the top of the WTA Ranking (71 weeks), was on the verge of the title in 2009, facing Dinara Safina in the final. Her semi-final win over Amelie Mauresmo and her youth (19 years of age) made her a strong contender for the title. The Dane was a stalwart on the Madrid clay and in 2015 she reached the later stages once again, although she eventually bowed out in the quarters.
Weeks at No. 1: 71
The elder of the Williams sisters was the first player (woman or man) to reach both the singles and doubles finals in the same edition. In 2010 she reached the decider on her own, losing just one set on the way in the last sixteen to Francesca Schiavone, who would win the French Open later that year. However, in the title match she lost to the tournament’s surprise package Aravane Rezai. In the doubles, though, she did manage to take the spoils alongside Serena the same year.
Weeks at No. 1: 11
The Mutua Madrid Open got its first glimpse of Serena on 10 May 2010. That day she defeated Vera Dushevina, in the first of the 20 wins she claimed in total in the Caja Mágica. However, that year she was sent packing in the third round by Nadia Petrova. The American returned in 2012, though, to dominate her way to her first Madrid crown on the blue clay. One season later, back on the classic red dust, Williams took her record to 13-1 with a resounding win over Maria Sharapova to make it two consecutive titles.
Champion: 2012, 2013
Weeks at No. 1: 319
Victoria Azarenka has unfinished business at the Mutua Madrid Open. She has come within touching distance of the title twice, but the player who spent 51 weeks at No. 1 in the world is still yet to taste glory in the Caja Mágica. In 2011, she reached the final, and she was favourite for the title, but Petra Kvitova had other ideas and won the first of her three crowns. The following season, Azarenka was back in the decider on the blue clay, but Serena Williams proved too tough an opponent.
Finalist: 2011, 2012
Weeks at No. 1: 51
Maria Sharapova has played a total of 30 matches in the Spanish capital, her strongest outings coming between the 2013 and 2015 seasons. In that stretch of her career, her win loss record at the Mutua Madrid Open was 15-2, enough to take her to the decider in 2013. However, that year she fell at the final hurdle to Serena Williams. The following season, though, she exorcised her demons, beating Simona Halep to become the 2014 champion. She extended her streak of wins to 10, but Kuznetsova brought it to an end in 2015.
Weeks at No. 1: 21
The Romanian struggled to unlock the secret of the Caja Mágica clay on her first few appearances. She played in the qualifiers in 2010 and came through them in 2011, but it wasn’t until three years later that she managed to claim her first main-draw victory. However, once she did, she proved unstoppable. In 2014, she reached her first final (lost to Sharapova), but her golden years started in 2016. She is, alongside Serena, the only woman to mount a successful defence of her Mutua Madrid Open title, and her run of 15 consecutive wins from 2016 to 2018 is still unmatched.
Champion: 2016, 2017
Weeks at No. 1: 64
The Australian was a latecomer to the Mutua Madrid Open. Her first appearance came in 2018, in the tenth edition of the women’s competition. Her presence at the Caja Mágica that year made little impact (lost in the second round). The following season she reached the quarters, but it was in 2021 when she delivered on her position as number one seed. She produced memorable encounters against Iga Swiatek (R16), Petra Kvitova (QF) and Paula Badosa (SF), but in the decider she was upset by Aryna Sabalenka, who beat her in three sets.
Weeks at No. 1: 121