Aryna Sabalenka returns the ball to Mirra Andreeva (unseen) during their Madrid Open match on Monday. Reuters
Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva’s impressive run at the Madrid Open came to an end with a loss to second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka on Monday.
After three straight-set victories against top-40 opponents in her main-draw debut, the 16-year-old wild-card entry couldn’t get past Sabalenka in the fourth round, losing 6-3, 6-1 in her first center-court appearance in the Spanish capital.
Andreeva became the youngest player to reach the last 16 of a WTA 1000 event after upsetting 2021 U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in the first round, 14th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second and 19th-ranked Magda Linette in the third. She had won 16 straight matches at all levels before falling to Sabalenka, her first top-10 opponent.
“It was a great match. I’m really happy with the result,” the second-ranked Sabalenka said. “In the first few games I was just trying to adjust to her game and her rhythm. After that I started feeling my game a little bit better and started playing better.”
Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion and the 2021 Madrid Open winner, made it to the last eight in Madrid for the second time. She reached at least the quarterfinals in all seven tournaments she has played in 2023, carrying a 26-4 record for the year.
Her next opponent will be Mayar Sherif, who defeated 24th-seeded Elise Merten 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 after nearly three hours to become the first Egyptian to reach the quarterfinals of a WTA 1000 tournament.
In the men’s draw, Daniil Medvedev had to come from a break down twice in the final set to reach the last 16 with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over fellow Russian Alexander Shevchenko.
“He played well. He’s young, so I’m sure he’s going to (move) up the rankings, especially if he plays like in this tournament,” Medvedev said of the 96th-ranked Shevchenko, who was making his main-draw debut in Madrid after coming through qualifying.
The victory takes Medvedev to a tour-best 33-4 record this season. He will next face qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who defeated 16th-seeded Alex de Minaur 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
The 22-year-old Shevchenko, who appeared to struggle with cramps toward the end of the match, took a 5-1 lead in the first set but went down 5-0 in the second. He then led 2-0 and 4-2 in the decisive set.
“I feel like I played pretty well in the second and third sets, and maybe the end of the first,” the third-ranked Medvedev said. “The thing about clay (is) usually it is tough for me to start matches for whatever reason. I need a lot of time to get used to everything that is happening on the court. The third set (I could) have been a bit better at crucial moments, or maybe a lot better. But finally I won, so that counts also.”
This is the first time Medvedev has won consecutive matches in Madrid.
Ninth-seeded American Frances Tiafoe lost 6-1, 7-6 (2) to Pedro Cachin, while Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-3.
Women’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek later faces 16th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in the quarter-finals. Mirra Andreeva, the 16-year-old Russian, takes on second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka.
Irina-Carnelia Begu upset 14th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 6-4 to earn her third win against a top-20 opponent in 2023. It will be her third quarterfinal appearance in Madrid.