Ashleigh Barty of Australia returns the ball to Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek during their match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, May 1, 2021. AP
Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek, the two most recent champions of the French Open, will meet in the last 16 of the Madrid Open.
They won their second-round matches on Saturday to set up the first-time meeting.
''(It's) a match that I look forward to,'' Barty said about Monday's meeting with Swiatek. ``I've hit with her once in Melbourne a few months ago. She's got a seriously impressive game. It's a challenge that we go into with a really clean slate, a little bit of a period of trying to figure each other out, and how our games match up.''
Barty won the French Open in 2019, and Swiatek last year in Barty's absence.
The top-ranked Barty needed three sets to beat 80th-ranked Tamara Zidansek. Barty struggled with her first serves, but she compensated by striking nine aces and saved nine break points to outlast Zidansek 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. That took her win streak on clay to 13 matches after claiming the Stuttgart title last week.
``A really tough match,'' Barty said. ``(I) made a lot of errors. I think I was missing in the right way, but still just a foot or two here or there makes a big difference. I felt like there were probably too many loose ones for me today.''
Swiatek brushed aside Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3 for the Pole's ninth win in a row on clay.
Three-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova also advanced after she beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5 in another battle of Grand Slam winners.
Kerber broke Kvitova's serve to start both sets. But the Czech canceled the advantage right back and then broke Kerber's serve to close it out.
``I don't think that I really played like bad games when she broke my serve,`` Kvitova said. ``It was kind of important to stay calm, which I did very well I think, through the whole match. I just took her straight away back.''
Also, Ons Jabeur came from behind to beat Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Anastasija Sevastova defeated Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-3, while Veronika Kudermetova beat Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-3, and Paula Badosa fought back to eliminate Jil Teichmann 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.
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