It was an evening of unexpected results and premature goodbyes, but also one with the unforeseen gift of a chance to discover new players who deserve their chance in the spotlight: Louisa Chirico and Irina-Camelia Begu, who saw off Ana Ivanovic and Garbiñe Muguruza respectively.
For Begu, the win over the third seed (5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3) was her first victory against a member of the top 5. The Romanian world number 35 has now produced two first-class performances in as many days at the Mutua Madrid Open, knocking out the last two Wimbledon runners-up with an impressive array of shots.
“She deserved to win today. She played like I’ve never seen her before”, admitted Muguruza, elegantly praising her opponent after the defeat.
For her part, Chirico is just 19 and occupies position 130 in the WTA ranking. She produced the upset of the day on Monday by seeing off 14 th seed Ana Ivanovic, who despite winning the first set 7-5, was unable to prevent a comeback from the young New Yorker (5-7, 6-1, 6-3).
The US player, who came through qualifying, will now meet fourth seed, Victoria Azarenka, who beat Alizé Cornet (6-3, 6-2).
Lucas Pouille also produced a result that looked unlikely on paper. The Frenchman made the most of his momentum from the qualifying rounds to send home 12th seed David Goffin. The Belgian, who reached the quarter-finals in Munich (losing to Alexander Zverev), was faced with an inspired opponent; Pouille was coming off the back of an impressive performance in Bucharest, where he lost the final to Fernando Verdasco.
In addition, Denis Istomin made the most of his qualification by beating Teymuraz Gabashvili (6-1, 6-4) in one hour. The Uzbek strung together eleven aces and only faced one break point, which he saved without difficulty.
Saving break points was key to survival for Joao Sousa, who defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4. The Portuguese will now take on Roger Federer’s replacement, Catalan player Marcel Granollers, who is in the main draw as a lucky loser.