It was another unnecessarily late night in Madrid with the last two WTA matches of the day finishing close to midnight. I’m glad to have been able to watch a bit more tennis but it means the posts are coming later! The last two Spaniards in the draw, Carla Suárez Navarro and Garbiñe Muguruza, battled valiantly from a set down to reach the last 16. Read on for nine stories in Wednesday’s Set Points from the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open.
Kvitova d. Puig (Madrid, R2)
Petra Kvitova survived a second set onslaught from Monica Puig to record a 6-3 7-6(8) victory and extend her new (!) winning streak to seven. Kvitova saved eight break points in the second set and a set point in what was a wild tiebreak – it was certainly entertaining!
Puig will want to forget the set point miss as she pushed a forehand long from a very promising position. Kvitova had double faulted on her first match point (having played a blinder of a point to set it up) but overcame the serving yips with a couple of big first serves. A great effort from Petra to get the job done in straights.
Halep d. Mertens (Madrid, R2)
While I was working… Simona Halep snapped Elise Mertens’s 13-match winning streak with another comprehensive victory, 6-0 6-3. That’s two comfortable wins for Simona in Madrid which is kind of noteworthy as she has had to battle so, so hard in many of the matches this year. It is the first time since Doha that Halep has won back-to-back matches in straight sets.
Suárez Navarro d. Svitolina (Madrid, R2)
In the best match of the day, Carla Suárez Navarro scored another upset win over Elina Svitolina in 2018, knocking out the number four seed with a superb, 2-6 7-6(3) 6-4 victory. The Spaniard hurt her ankle in the second set but kept plugging away and got across the finish line in front of a passionate home crowd on her fifth match point. Carla was clearly emotional at the end and it was a memorable Caja Májica moment! This is the fifth straight year that the Spaniard has reached the last 16 in Madrid.
For Svitolina, I was disappointed to see her retreat way behind the baseline in that final game. The Ukrainian player has shown huge improvements in terms of being more positive on court but still tends to favour her defensive game in the crux moments. Suárez Navarro was rewarded for being the more aggressive player and also served impeccably in the decider. Could Elina have been more aggressive on return? Perhaps.
The match point was one of the craziest you’ll see all year as Carla was floored again! Big props to Elina for her sportsmanship at the end.
Kontaveit d. Sasnovich (Madrid, R2)
Anett Kontaveit scored another confidence-boosting win with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich. This was another big win for Anett as she had twice lost to Sasnovich in 2018 including a three set loss in Brisbane having won the first set, 6-1. This match looked to be heading in the same direction. While a little ragged at times in the decider, Kontaveit stayed aggressive and was dominant on serve.
Muguruza d. Vekic (Madrid, R2)
Garbiñe Muguruza battled back from a set and a break down to fend off a stern challenge from Donna Vekic, winning 2-6 6-4 6-1 in the last match of the day on the Manolo Santana Court. Vekic had started very strongly, striking the ball with authority and conviction. Muguruza was poor up at the net and missing backhands.
The Spaniard never threw in the towel and seized on her opportunities in the second set as Vekic backed off a tad and committed more unforced errors, allowing Muguruza to take control of more rallies. Muguruza won eight of the last nine games to advance to the third round of Madrid for the first time (!) in her career.
The Mugs-Sumyk partnership
I’m always fascinated to see how Muguruza and Sumyk interact on the changeover. After the first set, Muguruza called him down. It was one of the few times that I saw Muguruza actually communicate. She normally stays completely silent, as she did for their next “chat” during the second set. I always think Sumyk offers too many technical suggestions – if it was me, I would be feeling confused and overwhelmed as to what tactic to actually implement?!
Schiavone WC into Rome
Francesca Schiavone confirmed via her social media that she has been awarded a wild card into the main draw of Rome. This is nice to see after last year’s debacle. This will be Fran’s first appearance on the tour in over two months.
Radwanska confirms for Mallorca
The entry lists for Birmingham and Mallorca should be out very soon. Radwanska has joined Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka in intending to play Mallorca. Disappointing news for Brum.
Wednesday’s line-up of third round matches in Madrid is an absolute stunner. I’ve written about half of the matches on the match thoughts page. The late finish has thwarted me! Polls linked below…