The WTA Mutua Madrid Open is the third WTA Premier Event of the season, following the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami that saw Elena Vesniná and Jo Konta emerge with the trophies pointing skywards. Now, the focus turns to the European Clay Court Season, where La Caja Mágica rolls out the red clay and possibly a carpet or two for the world’s best players. Now it’s time to turn back the clock and remind ourselves of the last 5 finals in the Spanish capital, like we did for the Last 5 ATP Mutua Madrid Open Finals.
2012: Serena Williams bt. Victoria Azarenka 6-1,6-3
The first meeting between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka on clay, was on the blue clay of Madrid in 2012. It was a meeting in which Serena was utterly dominant, racing through in an hour and 4 minutes. It was Serena’s second title of the year and her 13th consecutive win. Although, Azarenka was the world number 1 at the time, she had only won one match out of 7 against Serena and the loss in Madrid was her second consecutive loss in the final at the WTA Mutua Madrid Open. This was a trend that would continue throughout 2012, with Serena overcming the Belarusian 4 more times, losing 1 set in the process.
Caption: Williams vs Azarenka Highlights
2013: Serena Williams bt. Maria Sharapova 6-1,6-4
Serena Williams triumphed for the second consecutive year at La Caja Mágica and in similarly dominant circumstances over her long-term rival Maria Sharapova. It was the World number 1 against the World number 2 in the final, but the gulf in class was bigger than the one in the rankings. Williams beat Sharapova for the 12th consecutive time on the WTA tour, a run that continues today and stretches back to 2004. It was Sharapova’s 4th final of the year and the 2nd that she had lost to Williams in 2013. She wouldn’t have to wait long for a third and second on clay, as the World number 1 would oust her in the final of Roland Garros.
2014: Maria Sharapova bt. Simona Halep 1-6,6-2,6-3
Maria Sharapova wouldn’t have to wait too long for her redemption. One year later she got it, against Romanian Simona Halep in Spain’s capital. The match seemed to be a carbon copy of last year’s showpiece match, with Halep galloping through the first set. However, Sharapova wouldn’t be denied, grabbing the momentum, turning it around and putting it into overdrive, as she won her second consecutive title on the clay after her triumph in Stuttgart. 2014 followed the same tune as 2013, with the same two fighting out the final match at Roland Garros as in Madrid. The similarities didn’t stop there though, with the same victor, Sharapova coming out on top in a 3-set tussle.
2015: Petra Kvitova bt. Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1,6-2
2015 saw Petra Kvitova back in the Madrid final for the second time and she would be victorious for a second time, in what was a one-sided final, only just eclipsing the hour mark. Her opponent, Svetlana Kuznetsova had heavy strapping on her left leg, but it would be harsh to use that as an excuse, as Kvitova dominated from the back of the court over the former Roland Garros champ. The Czech number one would push the head to head further in her favour at 4-1. It was her second title of the year, in what would prove to be an up and down year in terms of results.
Caption: Best Moments of Madrid 2015
2016: Simona Halep bt. Dominika Cibulkova 6-2,6-4
Simona Halep returned to the Mutua Madrid’s final after a year’s absence to re-write a wrong made in 2014. It’s fair to say the match up wasn’t in her favour though, as Dominika Cibulkova lead 3-1 coming into the match. Conversely, she could feel heartened by the fact that, she was undoubtedly the fresher of the two, being pushed to 3 sets only once in the week. In comparison to Cibulkova, who had been pushed to the limit in the first 4 rounds of the event. Halep’s victory was her 14th on the WTA Tour and her last up until publication of this piece. Cibulkova ranked 38th at the time, would benefit from her run in the Spanish sun, as she would eventually qualify for and win the WTA Tour Finals, following successes in Katowice, Eastbourne and Linz.
Caption: Halep vs Cibulkova Highlights at Mutua Madrid
Cover JUANJO MARTIN