Madrid | Raducanu’s path eased as Pliskova pulls out

The shape of the women’s draw at the Mutua Madrid Open has subtly changed, especially for Emma Raducanu, whose 1st-round opponent, Karolina Pliskova, withdrew, alongside Marie Bouzkova and Petra Martic, all through injuries.

Raducanu, who received a wild-card into the main draw, will now face a qualifier or a lucky loser in her opener, after Pliskova, a former World No 1 who won her 17th WTA title in Cluj earlier this year, pulled out because of an ankle injury.

With the qualifying draw already underway, no player could be drawn into the event to face the Brit, and Raducanu will be optimistic about beating whoever she gets, having impressed on clay in the Billie Jean King Cup against France and then reaching the quarter-finals in Stuttgart last week.

Pliskova, the former US Open and Wimbledon finalist, joined her fellow Czech Bouzkova on the sidelines, who withdrew because of a right elbow injury, and was replaced by Argentine Alternate Nadia Podoroska to face Czech Katerina Siniakova on Tuesday.

Croatia’s Petra Martic also withdrew with a right shoulder injury, leaving her opponent, Cristina Bucsa from Spain, to face a qualifier or lucky loser.

Meanwhile, Raducanu will hope to at least emulate her run to the 3rd-round in Madrid two years ago when she beat Tereza Martincova and Marta Kostyuk.

With no points to defend for the rest of the year, the 2021 US Open champion will be looking to surge up the rankings where, having risen 82 places following Stuttgart, she is now sat at No 221.

Should she win her opening match, the 21-year old Brit will face 17th seed Veronika Kudermetova from Russia in round 2, who received a bye.

Kudermetova has struggled in 2024, and faces huge rankings pressure with semi-final points to defend in both Madrid and Rome.

Looking optimistically further ahead, Raducanu could face matches against 8th seed Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia, or 9th seed Ons Jabeur from Tunisia.

Raducanu is scheduled to play her opening match on Wednesday.


British No 2 Harriet Dart fought her way past Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the 1st-round of Madrid qualifying on Monday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In qualifying, Britain’s Harriet Dart has already been in action, overcoming a slow start on Monday and fighting her way past Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the 11th seed, eventually winning, 0-6 6-3 7-6(1), after a 2 hour 12 minute battle.

The British No 2, who is currently ranked 86, takes on 17th-seeded Maria Timofeeva from Russia for a place in the main draw on Tuesday.

Timofeeva also needed to go the distance against Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, winning 7-5 3-6 6-2.

There were some seeding upsets in qualifying, with No 1 seed Camila Osorio from Colombia toppled by Olga Danilovic, 6-3 7-5, 2nd-seeded Podoroska (who later made the main draw as an Alternate due to ranking) felled by American Elizabeth Mandlik, 6-4 6-2, France’s Oceane Dodin (5) losing to local wild-card Leyre Romero Gormaz, 6-3 6-1, Sarah Vickery from the USA taking down Spain’s Rebeka Masarova (6), 6-4 4-6 6-1, Dane Clara Tauson (10) retiring against Slovakian Rebecca Sramkova, 7-6(6) Ret, and Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer (12) going down to Sara Bejlek, an 18-year old Czech, 6-1 6-4.


A general view of the outside courts at the Caja Magica in Madrid

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