No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur was the first winner of the 2022 Madrid Open, advancing past Jasmine Paolini 7-6(9), 6-1 in 1 hour and 22 minutes on Thursday. Jabeur, making her second appearance at the tournament, is coming off a runner-up showing in Charleston last month. Paolini was bidding for her second career top-10 win, having gained her first in Indian Wells over Aryna Sabalenka.
The pair had never played before. Later, the No.15 seed Victoria Azarenka followed Jabeur on Arantxa Sanchez Stadium and virtually replicated the same winning dynamic, beating Viktorija Golubic 7-6(5), 6-3 in 1 hour and 44 minutes. Two-time Madrid finalist Azarenka, who was runner-up to Petra Kvitova in 2011 and Serena Williams in 2012, will next face Tamara Zidansek or lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia.
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The Madrid Open already has a marquee second-round tussle lined up, with two-time champion Simona Halep and World No.2 Paula Badosa advancing to face each other after speedy openers. Halep got her 2022 campaign in the Spanish capital off to a flying start, easing past Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-3 on Manolo Santana Stadium.
Badosa followed up on the same court shortly thereafter, sweeping the final nine games en route to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Veronika Kudermetova.