Simona Halep marches on in Madrid with win over Elise Mertens
Simona Halep v Elise Mertens

Simona Halep marches on in Madrid with win over Elise Mertens

World number one Simona Halep trounced an out of sorts Elise Mertens to reach the third round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday and stay on course for her third consecutive title at the event.

The Romanian top seed wrapped up victory in an hour and 11 minutes, hitting 23 winners and limiting herself to 18 unforced errors as she ended her Belgian opponent's 13-match winning streak.

Mertens, who has won titles in Morocco and Switzerland this year, previous form deserted her as she struggled to cope with Halep's combination of power, guile and relentless court coverage.

She found her feet at the start of the second set and fought gamely to the end, saving four match points while serving in the final game before netting a routine forehand to cough up a fifth and conceding the match with a tame double fault.

Halep will face Kristyna Pliskova in the last-16 after the Czech beat Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5 6-2.

Petra Kvitova, who is seeded 10th in Madrid, edged out wild card Monica Puig 6-3 7-6(8) in the day's early encounter and will face either Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in the next round.

Kvitova dished out nine aces, but made an equal number of double faults as she held on to extend her winning streak to seven matches despite her opponent's aggressive brand of tennis.

The two went toe-to-toe as the advantage swung back and forth, but Puig paid the price for not getting enough first serves across the net and failing to take her opportunities when they arose, allowing the Czech to prevail.

With the score tied at 8-8 in the second-set tiebreak, Kvitova secured a match point with an ace, before sealing victory with a powerful forehand.

Related news

Roger Federer extends Western & Southern Open unbeaten streak to 11 matches

Roger Federer extends Western & Southern Open unbeaten streak to 11 matches

Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Peter Gojowczyk, and Williams was eliminated by eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss.

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round

Serena Williams was eliminated from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, falling to eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss.

Novak Djokovic makes winning start in Cincinnati as Murray falls in opener

Novak Djokovic makes winning start in Cincinnati as Murray falls in opener

Novak Djokovic overcame home favourite Steve Johnson, Stan Wawrinka beat Diego Schwartzman and Andy Murray was eliminated in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Andy Murray falls to Lucas Pouille in first round in Cincinnati

Andy Murray falls to Lucas Pouille in first round in Cincinnati

Andy Murray lost to Lucas Pouille 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday, clearing another obstacle for Roger Federer in this US Open tune-up.

Serena Williams bounces back with straight-set win at Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams bounces back with straight-set win at Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams bounced back from the most lopsided loss of her career, cruising past Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 at the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

After Rogers Cup crown, Rafael Nadal pulls out of Cincy tournament to rest

After Rogers Cup crown, Rafael Nadal pulls out of Cincy tournament to rest

Rafael Nadal dropped out of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday night, scuttling a reunion of the "Big Four."

Rafael Nadal topples birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto final

Rafael Nadal topples birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto final

Rafael Nadal ended the red-hot run of Greek upstart Stefanos Tsitsipas with a 6-2 7-6(4) win on Sunday that gave the Spanish top seed his fourth Rogers Cup championship.

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens in Montreal in repeat of French Open win

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens in Montreal in repeat of French Open win

World number one Simona Halep turned back American Sloane Stephens 7-6(6) 3-6 6-4 to win the Rogers Cup women's title in a rematch of their French Open finale in Montreal on Sunday.

Nadal sees off Khachanov to set up Tsitsipas showdown in Rogers Cup final

Nadal sees off Khachanov to set up Tsitsipas showdown in Rogers Cup final

World number one Rafael Nadal eased past Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

RELATED NEWS

Roger Federer extends Western & Southern Open unbeaten streak to 11 matches
Roger Federer v Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4

Roger Federer extends Western & Southern Open unbeaten streak to 11 matches

Federer advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Peter Gojowczyk, and Williams was eliminated by eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss.

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round
Petra Kvitova v Serena Williams 6-3 2-6 6-3

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round

Serena Williams was eliminated from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, falling to eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss.

Novak Djokovic makes winning start in Cincinnati as Murray falls in opener
Novak Djokovic v Steve Johnson 6-4 7-6 (7/4)

Novak Djokovic makes winning start in Cincinnati as Murray falls in opener

Novak Djokovic overcame home favourite Steve Johnson, Stan Wawrinka beat Diego Schwartzman and Andy Murray was eliminated in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Andy Murray falls to Lucas Pouille in first round in Cincinnati
Lucas Pouille v Andy Murray 6-1, 1-6, 6-4

Andy Murray falls to Lucas Pouille in first round in Cincinnati

Andy Murray lost to Lucas Pouille 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Monday, clearing another obstacle for Roger Federer in this US Open tune-up.

Serena Williams bounces back with straight-set win at Western & Southern Open
Serena Williams v Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2

Serena Williams bounces back with straight-set win at Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams bounced back from the most lopsided loss of her career, cruising past Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-2 at the Western & Southern Open on Monday.

After Rogers Cup crown, Rafael Nadal pulls out of Cincy tournament to rest
Western & Southern Open news

After Rogers Cup crown, Rafael Nadal pulls out of Cincy tournament to rest

Rafael Nadal dropped out of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday night, scuttling a reunion of the "Big Four."

Rafael Nadal topples birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto final
Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2 7-6(4)

Rafael Nadal topples birthday boy Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto final

Rafael Nadal ended the red-hot run of Greek upstart Stefanos Tsitsipas with a 6-2 7-6(4) win on Sunday that gave the Spanish top seed his fourth Rogers Cup championship.

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens in Montreal in repeat of French Open win
Simona Halep v Sloane Stephens 7-6(6) 3-6 6-4

Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens in Montreal in repeat of French Open win

World number one Simona Halep turned back American Sloane Stephens 7-6(6) 3-6 6-4 to win the Rogers Cup women's title in a rematch of their French Open finale in Montreal on Sunday.

Nadal sees off Khachanov to set up Tsitsipas showdown in Rogers Cup final
Rafael Nadal v Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3) 6-4

Nadal sees off Khachanov to set up Tsitsipas showdown in Rogers Cup final

World number one Rafael Nadal eased past Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.