Sunday, 7 May 2017

All roads to Madrid

As the first of the two major tournaments leading into Roland Garros has just commenced in Madrid, five other tournaments have either concluded or are about to.

Estoril saw all top four seeds make the quarter finals but second seed Richard Gasquet fell to unseeded Kevin Anderson at this stage.
The final will feature top seed Pablo Carreno Busta and third seed Gilles Muller.

Munich, in contrast, lost a number of its top fancies along the way, including number one seed Gael Monfils in his first match.  The title will be decided between third seed Alexander Zverev and qualifier Guido Pella.

Istanbul has gone pretty much to script and the top two ranked players Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic will do battle in the final.

In Prague, the Czech presence was strong, with Karolina Pliskova top seed, Barbora Strycova (3), Lucie Safarova (5) and Katerina Siniakova (8).

However Karolina left in round one, Lucie in round two, leaving it to Karolina's twin sister Kristyna and Barbora to hold the nation's hopes in respective semi finals.
Kristyna won her semi final but Barbora lost hers to qualifier Mona Barthel, who proceeded to win the title.

In Rabat, top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova survived a number of upsets to advance to the semi finals joining unseeded Italians Sara Errani and Francesca Schiavone and American Varvara Lepchenko.

Schiavone continued her recent run of form by reaching the final, but despite a competitive showing, could not quite match it with Pavlyuchenkova who clinched her tenth career title.

So far in Madrid, with all the world's top players back in action, things are a little different. 
Sara Errani, semi finalist in Rabat, has lost in first round of qualifying, an example of how the level has increased.

Major upsets have occurred already in women's first round matches - 9th seed Madison Keys and 12th seed Elena Vesnina have been eliminated by Misaki Doi and Irina-Camelia Begu respectively.

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