Tuesday’s Set Points, WTA Madrid: Super Suárez Navarro stuns Svitolina, Muguruza battles into R3

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 OOP

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…

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16 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Set Points, WTA Madrid: Super Suárez Navarro stuns Svitolina, Muguruza battles into R3

  1. Great win for CSN. I personally would have been annoyed if it were me playing her on that match point. I know she didn’t fall on purpose but it was definitely a hindrance to Svitolina, who was right there at the net. You just felt like had Elina broken Carla in that game, she would probably have stolen the win.

    Anyway! Hoping Pliskova can turn her h2h against Sloane around. I think she’s playing with a lot of match confidence, and the conditions slightly favour her too. But when Stephens is on…


  2. Caroline Garcia and Karolina Pliskova both on fire.

    Can’t underestimate Carla Suarez Navarro, who will have tonnes of crowd support and is so good on clay. Not sure how much she’ll have in the tank for beating Garcia though- not often you get a player who hits Julia Goerges off the court.

    I also kind of feel like Pliskova might have a shot at an upset. Of course Simona has rocked her run, as she has the past few years, but she will be overwhelming favourite playing a confident big hitter who also loves these conditions. If Karolina serves and returns as well as she has then she has more than a shot.


    • I know what you mean, I think Pliskova might have a shot. She’s very self aware with the H2H against Halep (and Radwanska too) in press from the comments i’ve seen. Interested to see if it will at least be more competitive than their last match.


      • She has a couple wins over Halep at Fed Cup, so she has the belief she can beat her. And the last time they played on Clay, Pliskova put up a tough 3 set resistance. I’d love her to win today- it would be hilarious if she were the one to dominate clay in 2018!


  3. It hurts that I’m supporting two of the most frustrating players on tour right now.

    Stephens is frequently putting some listless performances in which she doesn’t seem to care for the match.
    Muguruza’s game has become a mess. She used to win consistantly against defensive players through her impressive shot making. Now her ground strokes are stiff and robotic, which is barely enjoyable and doesn’t hurt her opponents that much.


    • It seems to me that Muguruza has generally become more passive? I didn’t watch Stephens-Pliskova yesterday so can’t comment on the particular match but I felt before Stuttgart, Stephens had thrown in less of the listless displays in 2018.


    • Garbine and a few other players only come alive during the slams( especially grass) these days. Maybe something they picked up from the Williams sisters ?? It seems like they play their best when the stakes are high. But, sometimes you need to build momentum, to peak at the right moment as they say. I only hope there is some wisdom to her choices.

      Stephens is no surprise. She came fresh of an injury layoff to claim the USopen crown. I doubt she can play a full season consistently. She is an opportunistic player in some sense. As long as the tournament is balanced in her favour she’ll likely make it far. Its rare to see her carving out a path for herself in the true sense like she did at the US Open.
      It’s interesting, at a time when the tour is open and there for the taking, it seems no one is interested in stamping their game on it and taking charge. My only takeaway is, this is going to be open and fluid for a long while yet.


      • That’s one perspective. My view is that there are a half dozen players trying really hard to stamp their games and dominate, and that’s why ultimately nobody is.
        I’ve always preferred women’s tennis to men’s because you get players with different strengths and weaknesses. It makes it more interesting than the men’s, where you know Nadal and Federer are going to win.


      • I do agree, Andrew. Nothing against the open trend. I’m even hoping for a bottom half winner here. But I feel some of the downside will be these kinds of results and odd plays.

        I enjoyed the Australian Open for that reason, and Osaka’s run in IW, Sloane’s run, Berten’s run. You could, well, I could tell these girls were on title runs. Fairly dominant in their wins too. It shouldn’t be a surprise if Garbine plays an excellent game through Wimbledon. She’ll suddenly be a ‘darling’ once more..lol

        Even Pavs got me almost excited a tournament or so back thinking she had awoken from her slumber.
        That’s what made last year’s YEC all the more crazy and fun. Wozniacki basically had ‘infinity gauntlet’ 🙂 and she did as she pleased(For a Caro player).

        Still keenly follow the men’s game too, although, I’m on a Djokovic vacation at the moment. The waiting for him(to peak glory or even close) is taking too long.


  4. Bertens def Sharapova
    Bertens was in a lot of pain a few times during the match. It appeared to be a case of ‘shin splints’, but she seemed to recover and won the match.
    The question is, how will her injury effect her next match against Garcia?


    • Shin splints can be absolute hell. They don’t always consistently bother you though, and can usually be alieved with pain meds and adrenaline from competing.

      Garcia doesn’t have a good record against Bertens and I think I’d quite fancy Kiki’s chance at making the finals. She’s just a marvel of a player on clay! If Garcia plays like she did today though then Caro is the one winning, she was pretty extraordinary.


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