After Sunday’s jamboree of tennis fun, we were down from 26 matches to just eight on Monday! On the third day of main draw action, five of the seven seeds went tumbling out of the tournament as sections of this draw began to open up in style with at least four unseeded players confirmed to be in the quarter-finals. For second round previews of Cibulkova-Garcia and Pavlyuchenkova-Giorgi, both on Tuesday, click HERE. Read on for Monday’s Set Points…
The highest quality women’s match of the day saw Irina-Camelia Begu defeat the number three seed, Garbiñe Muguruza, 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3. This was an absolute rollercoaster of a match but Begu played some stunning tennis at times. She failed to capitalise on 5-2 leads in the first and second sets. Muguruza won five games on the trot to win the first set, 7-5. While the first set was mostly Muguruza peaking, the second set saw Begu waste three set points up *5-3 *40-0 and then get broken with a failed drop shot.
It was a case of déjà vu as Muguruza broke again at 5-5 in the second set to bring up an opportunity to serve for the match at 7-5 *6-5… however, that’s where the similarities with the first set ended as Begu clawed her way back into contention with some sensational shotmaking. She kept it together in a fabulous tiebreak. Begu lost her early break in the third set but was always the better player in this match as Muguruza’s game folded at the end.
Patricia Maria Tig… the 21-year-old is becoming one of the talking points of this 2016 Mutua Madrid Open draw as she followed up her first round win over Daria Kasatkina with a 6-2 6-3 victory over the number 16 seed Sloane Stephens for the best win of her career so far. Tig has qualified for main draws in St. Petersburg and Charleston this year, but the result in Madrid has come out of the blue. For Stephens, she continues to be an enigma… you just never know what level she is going to bring to the table.
Tig will play Madison Keys in the third round after the American enjoyed a straightforward win over Angelique Kerber’s conqueror, Barbora Strycova, 6-3 6-3. Keys has been on the coaching carousel a lot this year! There was also a brief spell with Mats Wilander in there too…
Christina McHale continues to impress in 2016 as she ousted the number 13 seed, Karolina Pliskova, 7-6(3) 6-4. McHale had failed to serve out the first set at *5-4 and was then forced to save a set point before steadying herself in the first set tiebreak. Pliskova’s serve was surprisingly mute in this match (56% first serve points won) and McHale dominated many of the rallies. McHale plays Begu for a place in the quarter-finals…
An intriguing match on the Arantxa Sanchez Court saw the world number 130, Louisa Chirico earn her second top 20 win this year, beating the number 14 seed, Ana Ivanovic, 5-7 6-1 6-3. Chirico served for the first set at *5-3 and missed a set point at 5-4*. In a pivotal five-deuce game at 5-5, Ivanovic broke on her sixth break point of the game before comfortably holding to win the set, 7-5. The key stat in the first set – Chirico was 0/3 on net points with some BIG misses in that 5-5 game.
Chirico ‘reset’ her game and came back fighting in the second set with Ivanovic’s game crumbling. With her thunderous forehand doing the damage, Chirico won the second set, 6-1. Ivanovic went up an early break in the third set, but Chirico always looked the more secure player from the baseline. This match also highlighted how well Chirico moves on this surface. The American played some big points at the end.
In my opinion, this was a concerning loss for Ivanovic. Mentally, she looked very fragile and the forehand was leaking errors, mostly into the net. Ivanovic finished the match with 56 (!) unforced errors including a double fault on match point.
Get to know Louisa Chirico in two recent articles (linked below) posted by The Tennis Island the WTA Insider.
I really enjoyed the end of the second round match between Daria Gavrilova and Elina Svitolina… Daria looks back after a rocky few months, recording her best win since the Australian Open with a 6-2 7-6(4) victory. Gavrilova’s intensity and aggression were there, plus the variety and a restored calm in the crucial moments, twice holding in the second set with scoreboard pressure at *4-5 and *5-6.
Svitolina produced a handful of neat points but her attempts to come forward to the net, whilst encouraging, were never convincing. She’s got power there and can hit winners, but there were too many loose errors in this match against a surprisingly solid Gavrilova. I don’t think clay is Elina’s best surface but it hasn’t happened for her yet in 2016.
Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova continue to look on course for a quarter-final showdown after both players won their second round matches in straight sets. They were the only two seeds to advance on day 3 of main draw action. Azarenka won her fifth consecutive match against Alizé Cornet, 6-3 6-2, while Kvitova overcame the in-form, Elena Vesnina, 6-3 6-3. For Azarenka, she appeared to be troubled by a foot injury… this could spell trouble ahead, particularly with how Azarenka has been very cautious with injuries this year.
Here’s a nice piece with Lucie. I’m sad to hear that her coach, Rob Steckley has some health issues and won’t be coming to Rome…get well soon, Rob!
One player who looks like a treat to photograph… Katerina Siniakova.
Here are some super photos of Timea Bacsinszky from her first round win against Andrea Petkovic.
And finally, I loved this piece by René Denfeld from The Tennis Island with Jelena Jankovic, talking about her recent injury and health concerns. Fingers crossed that Jelena can get her serve going in time for Roland Garros.