The first set of second round matches were playing at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday. This post covers most of the matches including recaps of the matches that I watched – Garcia-Martic, Goerges-Arruabarrena, Stephens-Stosur and Pliskova-Azarenka. Read on for 9 stories from day 3 of main draw action in Madrid.
Note – This post has been updated to include Pliskova-Azarenka
Garcia d. Martic (Madrid, R2)
Caroline Garcia found her forehand in the nick of time to halt a surging second set comeback from Petra Martic. Garcia had led 6-3 4-0 and even had a break point for 5-0 (!) in the second set. Martic reeled off five games in a row. Two points from losing the set, Garcia regrouped and won the last three games to secure a 6-3 7-5 victory. The serve, which she won 11 straight points on to start the match, and the forehand were mostly potent for CarGar.
Sharapova d. Begu (Madrid, R2)
Maria Sharapova has won back-to-back matches for the first time since the Australian Open after a 7-5 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu. Sharapova won 19 points (!) in a row during the second set which the WTA documented in the video below…
Wozniacki d. Barty (Madrid, R2)
I was live scoreboarding for this one where Caroline Wozniacki needed three sets to get past Ash Barty, winning the last four games of the match to prevail, 6-2 4-6 6-4. Barty had a break point deep in the third set that would have seen her serve for the match. Another good win for Woz. A shame that Ash couldn’t take it at the end but I have no doubts that she’s going in the right direction.
Wozniacki’s press conference
It was nice to see such respect between the pair at the net. Wozniacki was glowing in her praise of Barty in her press conference.
Goerges d. Arruabarrena (Madrid, R2)
From a set and a break down, Julia Goerges transformed her game to win 11 of the last 14 games and beat Lara Arruabarrena, 2-6 6-4 6-2. This was a huge turnaround from Goerges who was completely out-of-sorts at the start of the second set with a treasure chest of unforced errors. At the same time, Arruabarrena was playing at a decent level.
The turnaround was all Goerges as she suddenly flicked a switch with big serves, big forehands and nuggets of neat touch. It was a festival of forehands in the final two sets from Goerges who hit winner after winner from that side. It was encouraging that Goerges somehow found her level from nothing and she ended the match playing really, really well.
Stephens d. Stosur (Madrid, R3)
Sloane Stephens was in good form as she swiftly dispatched Sam Stosur, 6-1 6-3 in 74 minutes. To be honest Sloane didn’t have to do a great deal in the first set as Stosur struggled to find her rhythm and was ineffective up at the net. Stosur improved in the second set… and so did Stephens! Finishing with a string of potent forehands, Stephens advanced to the last 16 of Madrid for just the second time in her career.
Pliskova d. Azarenka (Madrid, R2)
Seven is the magic number. Karolina Pliskova went 7-0 in three set matches in 2018 (via WTA Insider) and extended her winning streak to seven too with a 6-2 1-6 7-5 win over Victoria Azarenka in the last match of the day. The third set was really compelling, so much so that I stayed up for it on a school night.
Pliskova was awesome in the first set and hit with impeccable depth. Her game though careered off into the abyss in the second set with double faults at the worst times and a surprisingly large tally of unforced errors. The Czech player regrouped at the start of the decider and secured the first break with a sensational return winner. Azarenka clung on with a mammoth hold to get on the board and then levelled up, finding her backhand down-the-line and more opportunities to come forward.
There was very little to choose between the pair at the end as Pliskova staved off four break point in what proved to be a crucial game at 5-5. This was a biggg win for Pliskova considering her rollercoaster-like performance. For Azarenka, I only see positives. So happy she’s back.
Petra’s week in Prague
A good article here about Petra in Prague and adapting to the new conditions in Madrid. Petra plays Monica Puig in the first match of the day on Tuesday.
The second set of eight second round matches will be played on Tuesday in Madrid including Halep vs. Mertens, Konta vs. Pera and Svitolina vs. Suárez Navarro. Polls linked below and thoughts about all eight matches up on the separate page.