Mandatory Minute: Madrid, May 7
Ion Tiriac painted the town blue with his latest tennis experiment.
Monday's Play (First round, *Second round)
|(3) Kvitova d. Erakovic, 6-2, 6-3|
|*(5) Stosur d. McHale, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0|
|*(8) Li d. Soler-Espinosa, 6-3, 6-1|
|(9) S. Williams d. Vesnina, 6-3, 6-1||—Ed McGrogan's Racquet Reaction|
|*(12) Kerber d. V. Williams, 6-4, 6-1|
|Suarez Navarro d. (15) Jankovic, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4|
|*Cetkovska d. Dominguez Lino, 6-4, 7-5|
|Hlavackova d. Rodionova, 6-1, 6-4|
|Errani d. Scheepers, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3|
|Marakova d. Voskoboeva, 6-2, 7-6 (3)|
|Hradecka d. Peng, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4|
|Safarova d. Kanepi, 6-4, 6-4|
Tuesday's Order of Play (Second round, *First round)
|(2) Sharapova v. Zakopalova [Manolo Santana]||
|(1) Azarenka v. Hlavackova [Manolo Santana]|
|(9) S. Williams v. Pavlyuchenkova [Manolo Santana]||
—Pace will be plentiful when two of tennis’ heaviest hitters square off on clay for the second time. Pavlyuchenkova took a set from Serena at the 2010 French Open and reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals last year, but the talented Russian has yet to win back-to-back matches all season, and overcame nine double faults in a three-set win over American qualifier Jill Craybas in the first round.
Serena claims she’s not a morning person, but still slammed 40 winners (including 14 aces) to rout Elena Vesnina in Monday's first match, 6-3, 6-1. Williams, whose 2012 clay-court record is now 8-0, is ripping her returns, moving with confidence, and typically feasts on the pace she’ll get from Pavlyuchenkova. Factor in the 13-time Grand Slam champion’s lethal serve and Pavlyuchenkova’s propensity for double faults, and Serena is the clear favorite.
The Pick: Williams
|(13) Ivanovic v. Petrova [Stadium 3]||
—In a battle of aggressive baseliners, the player who takes the first strike with her preferred weapon—Ivanovic favors the forehand and Petrova’s best shot is her backhand—should have the edge. Both can be vulnerable under pressure, but Ivanovic has beaten three Top 20-opponents in recent weeks. The 2008 French Open champion won the first Madrid match of her career yesterday and should make it two in a row on Tuesday.
The Pick: Ivanovic
|(6) Wozniacki v. Barthel [Stadium 3]||
—The former world No. 1 was under fire in facing 22 break points in the first round, but survived to scrape out a 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-4 victory over 38th-ranked Ksenia Pervak in a strenuous, three hour and four-minute win. The Dane’s counter-punching skills will be put to the test against Barthel’s blistering strokes. The 35th-ranked German beat 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and 2011 French Open semifinalist Marion Bartoli in succession before pushing top-ranked Victoria Azarenka to three sets in Stuttgart last week, and is third on the WTA in wins this season (27-9).
Wozniacki will try to draw errors from the explosive, sometimes erratic Barthel, but ultimately this match is on Mona's racquet. If she’s connecting on her shots, Barthel has the weapons to overpower Wozniacki, whose game is least effective on clay.
The Pick: Barthel
|*Suarez Navarro v. Safarova [Court 4]|
|Medina Garrigues v. Cirstea [Court 4]|
|Lepchenko v. Peer [Court 7]|
7:00 am - 3:00 pm: Madrid (M), Early rounds (Tennis Channel, Live)
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Munich (M), Final (Tennis Channel, Repeat)
6:00 pm - 2:00 am: Madrid (M), Early rounds (Tennis Channel, Repeat)
You can have the blue clay; in my opinion, this is a crazier court. Ivanovic and Pavlyuchenkova, who will both play on Tuesday, played without doubles lines in the final of the 2010 season-ending championships in Bali.