The first two quarter-finals are all set at the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open. Monday was a great day of tennis with highlights in all four of the third round matches. I wish every weekend could be a Bank Holiday. I’m looking forward to having a few days off to watch the tennis during the first round of the French Open. Read on for Monday’s diary from Madrid.
Day 5️⃣ Highlights
(1) Ash Barty d. (14) Iga Swiatek, 7-5 6-4
Two streaks collided in Madrid on Monday night. In a battle of the last two Roland Garros champs, Ash Barty’s 13 match win streak on red clay went up against Iga Swiatek’s 18 set win streak. It was the 2019 Rolly G champ, Ash Barty who prevailed in two tight sets. I had high expectations for this match and I think it delivered on the intrigue. It was an interesting watch to see the dynamics in what will surely be the first of many meetings between Barty and Swiatek.
It was a shame that the first set was ultimately decided on a shaky Swiatek service game at 5-5 where she hit three double faults. Swiatek made a sensational start to the match, going up 3-0. Swiatek was so sharp, taking the ball early and opening up the court. Swiatek gave Barty the runaround and managed to draw the Aussie out wide on her forehand side. Is anyone better at being able to make adjustments and simply not fall into a pit of panics than Barty? 0-3 quickly became 3-3 as Barty drew errors with her backhand slice to Swiatek’s backhand. Barty would go onto to close out the set with a trio of decisive forehands.
Barty front-ran the second set brilliantly after breaking at 1-1. After a dip at the end of the first set, Swiatek improved and had her chances to erase Barty’s break lead. Swiatek was unable to convert on triple break point with Barty serving at *3-2. Barty managed to erase danger on numerous occasions with some terrific serving. Lots of interesting takeaways from this match. So, so, SO impressed with how Barty continues to handles herself on court and is able to actively problem solve. Her tennis IQ is off the chart.
(9) Petra Kvitova d. Veronika Kudermetova, 6-3 4-6 6-4
Kvitova is into her sixth quarter-final in Madrid with a noteworthy win over Kudermetova in a hard-hitting and high-quality match. For a set and three quarters, Kvitova was absolutely irresistable on serve. Kvitova was knocking on the door in the second set for a break. Kudermetova showed impressive resistance, saving two break points at 4-4 that had Kvitova converted, would have seen her serve for a straights set victory. Kudermetova held on and then Kvitova was stepping up to the line serving to stay in the set at *4-5. Kudermetova relaxed, Kvitova tightened and it was suddenly one set all.
I was starting to get Stuttgart vibes, especially as Kudermetova earnt break points in Kvitova’s first service game of the decider. All of a sudden Kudermetova had a read on the Kvitova serve. Kvitova survived that game and was clutch from there on. Kvitova secured the all important break in the next game which included a rather miraculous return at 30-30 that barely caught the line.
Kvitova saved two break points at *3-2 and rescued herself from *0-30 when serving for the match with some huge first serves. The only obvious thing to me in that final game was that Kudermetova played a cautious point at 30-30 that allowed Kvitova to get on top of the rally. Other than that, I thought Kudermetova played a fine match. I think this is a big, big win for Petra who held her nerve against an in-form opponent. Petra marches on and will play Barty in the quarters. I’m excited.
(8) Belinda Bencic d. Ons Jabeur, 7-6(2) 4-3 ret.
The only thing I was confident about with this match was that it would go the distance. Sadly that prediction wasn’t tested as Jabeur was forced to retire midway through the second set. It was a real shame because it had been a decent match up till then. Jabeur injured her leg when appearing to slide as her foot seemed to catch in the clay. Jabeur had a medical time-out and tried to carry on but was in too much pain to continue.
Would you believe that there were no breaks of serve in the 19 games played?! Jabeur had chances to close the first set out with two set points at 5-4* and two points away four times at 6-5*. Bencic’s serve was a little up and down but with her back against the wall down, she managed to pull some meaty first serves out of the bag. While clay isn’t her thing, the Madrid conditions seem to suit Bencic and she has now made it back-to-back quarter-finals in Madrid.
Best of the rest 🎾
Such a shame that Badosa-Sevastova clashed with Barty-Swiatek as it sounded like a humdinger! Paula Badosa had another fabulous win, beating Anastasija Sevastova, 6-7(0) 7-6(3) 6-0 in two hours and 35 minutes.
Best point 🎾
My favourite point from the Barty-Swiatek match.
Hot shot 🔥
Hot shot Paula Badosa!
Favourite snap 📸
Recommended media 📺
Still loving this mask 😁 .
Tuesday watchlist 📺
Thoughts about Tuesday’s third round matches can be found on the separate page HERE.
(16) Maria Sakkari vs. Karolina Muchova
(3) Simona Halep vs. (13) Elise Mertens
(5) Aryna Sabalenka vs. Jessica Pegula
(11) Jen Brady vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova