Elise Mertens (WTA 16) has qualified for the second round of the WTA 1,000 tournament in the Spanish capital Madrid on Friday.
The Limburgian, the thirteenth seed, put the Chinese Shuai Zhang (WTA 44) aside in two sets. It became 6-3 and 6-3 after an hour and 23 minutes of tennis. It was their third mutual confrontation, Mertens now leads 2-1.
In the second round, Mertens faces the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (WTA 78) or the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (WTA 22).
The 25-year-old Mertens takes part in the Madrid Open for the third time. On her debut in 2018, she was dropped in the first round, a year later she was stranded in the second round. Last year, the tournament was canceled due to the corona crisis.
Last week Mertens reached the final at the clay tournament in Istanbul. There she was held of the title by the Romanian Sorana Cirstea (WTA 58).