mutua madrid open has produced one of the best encounters of the season in women's Tennis having Maria Sharapova fighting against Eugenie Bouchard. Both being tremendous athletes, the main stage of Madrid saw them trying to regain a spot at the top of the game. While Sharapova is seeking to improve her ranking following a 15 months hiatus from the game, Bouchard headed to Madrid willing to end a nagging losing streak. The tension at the net was obvious and the later unfolding of the match was the proof with both players putting in some of the finest tennis they were able to produce at the time.

In the end, it was the Canadian star advancing through the third round letting Sharapova dry out in the sun.

Sharapova and Bouchard delivered an epic battle of a nearly three hours stretch

Entering the match, despite being away from the game for so long, the 30-year-old Russian now ranked 258th in the world was the favorite as she had won all four previous meetings over Genie Bouchard. The opening set saw both digging in deep into the tennis court mostly relying on the raw force of the shots they can deliver from the racket head. At some point, Sharapova got her nose in front only to see Bouchard bouncing back stronger and determined to not walk away without putting a proper fight. The opening act went in Bouchard's pocket putting Sharapova on a race to recover.

Several unforced errors in the second act saw Bouchard losing her pace and the Russian easily put away the set by 6-2. It seemed that the match would follow the natural course with Sharapova marching towards victory. A dramatic third set that produced a lot of eye-catching moments had no clear favorite to put the money on. Having both struggling to keep their serve, it was hard to predict the winner.

This time, Bouchard did not melt down as in her previous matches and she was able to wisely manage her chances. Following a quick talk with her coach Thomas Hogstedt at 5-4, Bouchard went on serving out the match on her own terms.

This could have been the wake-up call Bouchard desperately needed

Bouchard entered the Premier Mandatory event in Madrid with no big expectations after she lost in the opening round in Istanbul.

Despite being a warm-up event on clay, that one added another early exit for the Canadian. An underdog at Mutua Madrid Open, Bouchard has made it to the third round for the first time in the Spanish capital and is now casting a shadow over Angelique Kerber who will return to the world no.1 seat starting from Monday. If she can upset the German player, Bouchard will be entitled to hope for another meteoric tennis path.