APRIL 22 - MAY 5, 2024

Authority and upsets at the Caja Mágica

Sunday saw the third day of the Mutua Madrid Open and the Caja Mágica witnessed some surprising results in the WTA competition. The women completed the first round of their competition and some of the top seeds proved just how tough this tournament is.

The upsets came in the shape of the elimination of the first two seeds. Pole Agnieszka Radwanska, the favourite for the title, lost 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 to Slovakian player Dominika Cibulkova in one of the most highly-anticipated clashes of the first round. The second seed, Angelique Kerber, fared no better. The left hander from Bremen was knocked out by the Czech Barbora Strycova, who won 6-4, 6-2 early in the afternoon.

These were not the only top players to fall at the first hurdle. The Italian Roberta Vinci, the seventh seed, was beaten by Montenegrin Danka Kovinic, 6-4, 6-2. For her part, Svetlana Kuznetsova, the ninth seed, bowed out after losing 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 to the German Laura Siegemund, a qualifier.

Other matches, however, went as the rankings would indicate. Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, stamped her authority on the tournament as she opened her defence, beating home player Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-2. Two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka was equally convincing as she saw off Brit Laura Robson 6-4, 6-2. Simona Halep, seed number 6, was unequivocal in her opener, storming past Japanese player Misaki Doi to win 6-0, 6-3 after just 58 minutes of play. The tenth seed, Timea Bacsinszky, had to work harder to get past the German Andrea Petkovic, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

For its part, Spanish tennis saw its two biggest stars survive their opening test. Carla Suárez had a tough game against Hungarian player Timea Babos, coming back to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a match that was almost two hours long. Garbiñe Muguruza, the third seed, had a more straight forward route to the next round, seeing off Anna Carolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 7-5.

Men’s main draw underway 

Fernando Verdasco got through two intense sets (7-5 7-6(3)) in a clash of wildcards against Argentinian Juan Mónaco. The Madrid native will be hoping to make the most of his home advantage in the second round, where he will face Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Spanish player Roberto Carballés, who came through qualifying.

One of the comebacks of the day came from Alexandr Dolgopolov, who sent home Steve Johnson with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in one hour and 56 minutes. Having safely negotiated the first round of the tournament, he will meet the winner of the clash between Milos Raonic, 15th seed, and the Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.