October 22, 2021

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SBD Preview: Pals Sabalenka and Mertens meet in Madrid quarterfinal

Their productive and successful doubles partnership ended, more or less, after they won the Australian Open title in February.

(They’ve played occasionally since, but it’s no longer a lock on the entry list).

The notion behind that was that Aryna Sabalenka wanted to direct her energies towards singles.

And here she is in Wednesday’s Mutua Madrid quarterfinals to face none other than … former partner Elise Mertens.

(Photo: Mutua Madrid Open/Angel Martínez)

Sabalenka would have expected to face Simona Halep. But the consistent Mertens, who has been a top-25 player for the last several years, came back from a break down – twice – in the third set to outlast the two-time Madrid champion.

Here’s our preview of the match (set for 1 p.m .EDT) for SBD.