By Ros Satar, in Madrid

  • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic starts his campaign
  • Defending champion Petra Kvitova faces tough challenge with Daria Gavrilova
  • Simona Halep looks for revenge over Timea Bacsinszky

MADRID, SPAIN – Wednesday’s line-up boasts Novak Djokovic, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep as the highlights of a packed schedule.

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

 

Novak Djokovic [1] v Borna Coric – First Meeting

Whether or not Coric compares himself to Djokovic, Murray or anyone in between, the scene is set for an intriguing opener for the World No. 1. Stunned by Jiri Vesely in his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters, Djokovic declared he needed some time to rest and recuperate as he continues to toil for his Holy Grail – the French Open.

Coric arrives with a run to his second final of the season in Marrakech and he made the quarter-finals of Estoril. Djokovic should take this, but expect Coric to match him in pounding the ball.

 

Stan Wawrinka [4] v Nick Kyrgios – H2H: Wawrinka leads 2-1

It is difficult to compare this pair, if we set aside the obvious issues of the past. Since Wawrinka’s first win over him last year at Queen’s, they have a retirement each that has pretty much taken the sting out of the handbags at dawn.

Maybe this time we will get a worthy match, and it will be a good test for Wawrinka whose quarter-finals of Monte Carlo stacks up against Kyrgios’s run to the Estoril semi-finals last week.

 

Kei Nishikori [6] v Fabio Fognini

The Italian continues his comeback after a month off the tour to recover from an abdominal injury, but after an early exit in Monte Carlo he seems to have found his rhythm on the dirt.

However he is up against a former finalist who had Nadal on the ropes before his own fragile body let him down. Since then Nishikori has become a little less fragile, and comes in with a solid run to the Barcelona finals, losing to Nadal.

This feels very much on Nishikori racquet and he should progress comfortably.

 

Simona Halep [6] v Timea Bacsinszky [10]

With the draw pretty much wide open, this surely must be a great chance for the former finalist to get back on track. She looked to have the measure of the Swiss in Miami before spectacularly falling apart and is looking for that element of revenge.

This has the makings of being one of the best matches of the tournament thus far, and we would hope that this time Halep matches Bacsinszky in terms of determination and fire.

 

Petra Kvitova [5] v Daria Gavrilova

Revenge may well be the order of the day as defending champion Kvitova will want to perhaps set the young Aussie down a peg or two after her surprise second round exit in Melbourne.

Kvitova has so far coasted through in two sets as opposed to her trademark three, but that may well come to an end on Wednesday. She and Gavrilova have had tight battles in their two previous meetings and this could well be a taut three setter.

 

Victoria Azarenka [4] v Louisa Chirico [Q]

This is a tough one to call strangely enough. With the top three seeds awry, this would have been a golden opportunity for Azarenka to snap up her third title this year, but she has seemed strangely ill-at-ease here despite fairly comfortable looking straight sets wins.

She has hinted to press that there is something troubling her, but it is not for discussion at the tournament and with Chirico full of confidence and with plenty of dirt in her shows coming through qualies, we might just see an upset here.

Play continues at the Caja Magica at 12pm (11am BST).

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