Two-time champion and former world No. 1, Simona Halep of Romania, notched a match-win at the Madrid Open for the 29th time in her career, defeating world No.2 Paula Badosa of Spain 6-3, 6-1 to set up a Round-of-16 clash against Coco Gauff of the US.
The 30-year-old Halep, who won the Madrid title back-to-back in 2016 and 2017 and has reached the final two more times, emerged victorious in her first meeting with the surging Badosa after one hour and 16 minutes of play.
With her latest win in the Spanish capital, Halep moves into the Madrid Open Round of 16 for the seventh time out of her 11 main-draw appearances here. Halep holds a 2-0 win-loss record against Gauff.
World No.14 Gauff outclassed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in a late Saturday night game 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Halep’s 29 main-draw match-wins at the Madrid Open are the most by the Romanian stalwart in her career after the Australian and French Open, where she has 31 match-wins apiece. Only three-time champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic has won more main-draw matches than Halep in the history of this tournament. Kvitova has won 32 matches at the Madrid Open.
Halep, who is ranked world No.21 and unseeded in Madrid for the first time since 2013, had 21 winners to 14 unforced errors during the clash against Badosa. A year ago, Badosa had broken through on home soil with a run to the Madrid semifinals as a 62nd-ranked wildcard, and has quickly risen to the top of the game since then, hitting a new career-high ranking of world No.2.
Meanwhile, Gauff staved off a riveting comeback by world No.44 Putintseva before the 18-year-old American triumphed in 2 hours and 21 minutes. Putintseva, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist, has defeated top-20 players on clay courts eight times in her career, according to wtatennis.com. However, Gauff was able to avoid the upset, converting six of her 21 break points to eke out the hard-fought win.