Halep beats world No.2 Badosa in Madrid

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Simona Halep has played some of her best tennis at the Madrid Open again in defeating home crowd favourite Paula Badosa in straight sets to reach the last 16.

The two-time Madrid Open champion had 21 winners as she defeated the new world No.2 Badosa 6-3 6-1 on the Caja Magica centre court on Saturday to reach the round of 16 for the seventh time in 11 appearances..

"I knew that I have to be for every point focused and to give everything I have, and I did it great today," the 21st-ranked Halep said. "I'm really pleased with the way I played."

Badosa, who broke through on home soil last year with a run to the Madrid semifinals as a 62nd-ranked wildcard, converted only one of her seven break points against Halep.

"She's played at a really good level, all of her merit, and I haven't played very well," Badosa said.

"I missed absolutely everything. That's why I was only able to win four games.

"At the important moments, the ball fell her side, and at the end of the day we just have to give her an applause. That's why she's a champion in this sport."

Halep won consecutive titles in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, and was runner-up in 2014 and 2019.

"I'm happy to be on court, and this is the most important thing at this age," said the 30-year-old, who's unveiled a more aggressive game under new coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who's most celebrated as Serena Wiliams' mentor.

"I trust 100 per cent what Patrick tells me about the game. So I'm really happy and pleased that actually I can do it on court, because it's different when you practice and when you're in the official match."

Another former No.1 Victoria Azarenka rallied past Tamara Zidansek 3-6 6-1 6-3 in her first match since the third round in Miami, when she retired for personal reasons.

Azarenka hadn't won consecutive matches since the Australian Open and this was the first time in six years that the two-time grand slam champion, seeded 15th in Madrid, has made it to the round of 16.

Eighth-seeded Ons Jabeur defeated Varvara Gracheva 7-5 0-6 6-4, Belinda Bencic beat Karolina Muchova 6-3 4-6 7-5 and American Amanda Anisimova knocked out Petra Martic 3-6 6-3 6-2.

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