APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Sabalenka’s throne up for grabs in Madrid

The die has been cast at the 2024 Mutua Madrid Open. The title contenders discovered their routes to the final on Sunday in a draw ceremony that took place at the Caja Mágica in Madrid. With Spaniard Cristina Bucsa having drawn the tokens, the season’s first WTA 1000 on clay is now ready for two weeks of breath-taking tennis. The throne awaits its queen in the Manolo Santana Stadium and the 96 places on the draw have been filled.


Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka looks sure to be tested from the very first point. With a chance to equal the tournament record with three singles titles, in her opener she may face Polish player Magda Linette, a finalist this week on the clay of Rouen. Her sector of the draw includes Czech player Barbora Krejcikova, a former French Open champion, and the USA’s Danielle Collins, who has won multiple titles already this year. Both promise to pile the pressure on the tournament’s queen. Marketa Vondrousova, whose versatility has taken her to the verge of a Grand Slam title on clay, could prove a tough obstacle for the current world No. 2 when she tries to reach the semi-finals.


While conquering Madrid is already high on Iga Swiatek’s to-do list, she will be even hungrier for success after having her reign of Stuttgart cut short. The Pole, who last year was three games from glory in the Spanish capital, will be bidding to use her potent tennis to dominate a sector of the draw that is certainly not short on experience, including names such as Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, two players who know what it is to play a title bout in the Caja Mágica. The world No. 1’s first tie will be against China’s Xiyu Wang or the Romanian Ana Bogdan, while Maria Sakkari looks like her biggest obstacle en route to the semis.


Third seed Coco Gauff will be hoping to produce her best stuff in a sector where big hitting will be the norm in her opening clashes. The path to the final for the American, who could open against the very young Brenda Fruhvirtova, could quickly lead to battles with the likes of Madison Keys and Naomi Osaka, two dangerous opponents at the altitude of Madrid. The highest-ranked opponent for the US Open champion is the Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the tournament’s champion in 2022. She should also be wary of the power of former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova. For a player who is looking for her first great outing in the Spanish capital, the draw has thrown up a number of possible tripping points.


If there is one woman who is primed to demand respect in Madrid, it is none other than Elena Rybakina. The Kazakh arrives in the Spanish capital having played five finals in 2024, proving her prowess on clay by claiming the title in Stuttgart. The fourth seed, who could cross paths with Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti in her opener, finds herself in one of the most open sectors of the Mutua Madrid Open. With no former champions of the tournament or Grand Slam winners until the semis, Elena will be bidding to make use of one of the most-feared serves on tour. Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, one of the world’s top eight, or Daria Kasatkina, the runner-up at her only clay tournament this season, appear to be the biggest threats. Chinese player Qinwen Zheng, a finalist at the Australian Open last January, could be on the other side of the net as she bids to reach the semi-finals.


Three Spanish players in the final draw will have the chance to show off their skills on the Caja Mágica clay. Cristina Busca faces a tough challenge in Croat Petra Martic, while Paula Badosa and Sara Sorribes, two players with experience in Madrid, will take their first steps in the event against qualifiers.


On the 15th anniversary of the women’s competition in Madrid, all is set for the biggest spectacle on the WTA Tour.