Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Madrid WTA - Seeds 1 2 3 Gone !

Madrid, the Spanish capital, is hosting in tandem both the ATP Masters event where Andy Murray defends his title, and the WTA Premier Mandatory tournament won last year by Petra Kvitova for a second time, and all the tennis world is focussed closely as the biggest names are here to battle.

But before we talk Spain there are some results from last week which need noting.  In Istanbul unseeded Diego Schwartzman won his final against second seed Grigor Dimitrov, to cap off a terrific tournament in which he defeated the top two seeds.  He won't be playing in Madrid because his ranking doesn't allow direct entry and he missed qualifying because he was busy winning the Istanbul title.  I somehow think he won't be too unhappy.

Another unseeded player, Nicolas Almagro, won the Estoril title, defeating fellow Spaniard and eighth seed Pablo Carrena Busta.  Almagro will play in Madrid thanks to being blessed with a wildcard.

Philipp Kohlschreiber won in Munich again,  his third triumph there, victorious over Austrian Dominic Thiem.  Both are carrying good form into Madrid.

Now to Madrid itself and only very early there is plenty to talk about, notably with the women's draw.
Fourth seed Vika Azarenka is the highest remaining ranked player after just the second round, and the Belarusian must be seriously looking at adding another big title to her US double earlier in the season.
So how did her major rivals disappear?
Top seed Aga Radwanska lost to Dominika Cibulkova in a three setter where serve was broken 19 times out of 31.  It was a tougher than normal first round assignment for Aga but given the inconsistent form of the 2014 Aus Open finalist this year, and Radwanska's great run, a hard fought win was still expected for the world number two.  Instead an incredible first serve percentage in set one for Cibulkova limited Aga's chances to break, and while she twice managed to do so, the Slovakian went one better to build a 6-4 advantage.
Aga struck back, winning the second set tie break 7 points to 3, but the decider was all Dominika 6-3 and she registered her best win of 2016.

Number two seed and Aus Open champ Angie Kerber was another first round casualty, falling to Czech player Barbora Strycova and badly 6-4 6-2.  Strycova avenged her 1-6 1-6 loss to Kerber in Miami and Angie's fond memories of her recent Stuttgart win were squashed almost irreparably with this loss.  Any shock should be toned down when considering Barbora's form this year - finalist in Dubai, quarters in Prague, round of sixteen in Aus Open and Indian Wells - 17-10 win/loss record. (PS Madison Keys disposed of Strycova in the next round) 

After safely negotiating her way past first round opponent Anna Schmiedlova, Spanish hope third seed Garbine Muguruza stumbled and fell at her next jump.  Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu survived the loss of set one but battled successfully through a second set tie break and won the decider decisively 6-3.

Other seeds to depart in round one were numbers 7 and 9 Roberta Vinci and Sveta Kuznetsova respectively.  Round two farewelled Ana Ivanovic (14), Elina Svitolina (12), Karolina Pliskova (13) and Sloane Stephens (16).

The two highest seeds left - Vika Azarenka and Petra Kvitova - are drawn to play each other in a quarter final.  Reigning title holder Petra against hottest player on tour - should be a great one.

Not much happening of note in the men's draw yet except the dumping of 12th seed David Goffin by qualifier Lucas Pouille who is putting together some good results in this part of 2016.

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