On a day when the first passes to the last sixteen were up for grabs, levels of competitiveness in the women’s competition were cranked up a notch, even for the best on tour. On the Mutua Madrid Open clay, where the players already had one match in their legs, the difficulty of the tournament was evident, without exceptions.
As chants echoed around a Stadium 3 that was packed to the rafters, Carla Suárez sealed a memorable 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over ex-world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki after two hours and 14 minutes of intense battle. Late at night in the Caja Mágica, the Canary Islander dug deep on the clay until sealing one of her most impressive victories this season against the second best player of the year.
It was the Gran Canarian’s second win on clay against the Dane, an opponent she had not overcome since 2013. She is now in the last sixteen and one step away from equaling her best result in front of the Madrid fans.
A few minutes earlier, Lara Arruabarrena came back in an edge-of-your-seat match to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 against the Czech Barbora Strycova, meaning the Caja Mágica’s round of 16 will now enjoy two Spanish representatives.
The player from Tolosa got past the fifteenth seed with lightning reflexes, managing to break her opponent’s serve five times and take 48% of the points on the return. It was a demonstration of her ability on the Mutua Madrid Open’s clay that now means she has sealed her best result ever in the Spanish capital.
Kerber escapes scare, Pliskova goes down
The number one seed Angelique Kerber was one of the stars who experienced the demands of the Mutua Madrid Open first hand. The German had to dig deep in an extremely tough match against the Czech Katerina Siniakova, who she beat 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 after one hour and 59 minutes of play, having been just two points away from an early exit.
The world number 2 managed to successfully negotiate a match she dominated early on (6-2), only to soon find herself on the brink of defeat (6-2, 1-6, 3-5). The player from Bremen, who had to break to stay in the competition, demonstrated her survival instincts on the Caja Mágica clay.
Another player to show her competitive streak, in this case on her way to downing a big name, was Anastasija Sevastova, who managed to see off Czech player Karolina Pliskova, the tournament’s second seed 6-3, 6-3. In a match that was bathed in the sun of the Manolo Santana Stadium, the resistance from the Latvian was enough to trouble an elite player and claim one of the most surprising victories of the tournament so far.
The recent Stuttgart quarter-finalist continued her impressive form by sealing her second victory over a top-10 player in two weeks, highlighting her potential while at the best ranking of her career (22) and continuing to turn heads at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Kuznetsova and Mladenovic fight their way through
Svetlana Kuznetsova had to dig very deep to comeback in two hours and 24 minutes against US player Alison Riske, winning 2-6, 7-6(9), 6-2 after saving a match point. The Russian, eighth seed at the Mutua Madrid Open, had fans in the Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario Stadium on the edges of their seats until she finally made her way through to the last sixteen.
For her part, as her impressive season continues, Kristina Mladenovic beat US player Lauren Davis 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(1) after two hours and 25 minutes of play. The recent finalist in Stuttgart demonstrated her form on clay as she booked her place among the 16 best in the Caja Mágica.