The women's tennis circuit is experiencing quite a thrill. With Serena Williams out of the mix due to pregnancy, the field is wide open. The Premier Mandatory event in Madrid is merely a sample. The situation is more obvious on the bottom half of the board where only 2 seeds made it through to the third round, Simona Halep and Samantha Stosur, and the irony is that they're set to face each other next, which opens the door for other unseeded players to aim big in Madrid.

Simona Halep edges Samantha Stosur in head-to-head stats

Their upcoming battle, the clash between the last two seeds of that side of the draw, will have a slot for the quarterfinals as a prize.

Their shared history consists of 9 previous meetings, having Simona Halep as the winner of the last one not that long ago in Miami. On the other side, Sam Stosur, a former Grand Slam champion and a top 10 player now ranked 26th in the world, won their last encounter on clay. It occurred last year in the French Open's fourth round. To reach this stage in Madrid, Halep got past Krystina Pliskova in the opening round while the second clash saw her on the brink of defeat, as Roberta Vinci was not ready to walk away without a fight.

The Italian came back from being a set down and had the chance to end the drama on her own service game. The defending champion in Madrid, Halep bounced back and pushed the match into a tie-break.

Some loose errors from Vinci's side of the court capped a brilliant comeback for the Romanian tennis star. On the other side, Sam Stosur had no trouble at all securing two straight set wins against some low-ranked players from Spain. Neither Sara Sorribes Tormo (79 WTA) in the opening round or Mariana Duque-Marino ( 98 WTA) in the second one were able to produce.

Halep yet to win a title in 2017

Despite being a top 10 player for a while now, the 25-year-old Romanian still has to handle her inner demons. Against Vinci, we were given a sample of her new strategy. Despite being thrashed all over the court by the Italian, she didn't lose her temper. That sea of calmness was instrumental in her comeback. Still, without a WTA title in 2017, and with her ranking starting to plunge, it seems that it's the right moment to press the reset button.