It was a day full of upsets at the Mutua Madrid Open as Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Strycova, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova all fell to their opponents. Angelique Kerber, who will return to the top spot in the rankings next Monday, almost fell victim to a spirited display put up by her opponent, but eventually managed to whisker through in three sets.
Sevastova continues good run
The first match up on the schedule of the Centre Court saw Karolina Pliskova go up against the giant-killer in Anastasija Sevastova. Historically known for her lack of success on the clay courts, the Czech was bound to struggle against the Latvian, who earned a Top 10 win on clay in Stuttgart just recently. With some crafty tennis and excellent shot-making, Sevastova completed the upset within just 1 hour and 19 minutes, breaking serve thrice throughout the match and fending off all break points she has faced.
Kerber captures lucky escape
Following Sevastova and Pliskova was the second round match between the top seed Angelique Kerber and Katerina Siniakova. Thought to be another close match considering Kerber’s lack of form this year, the German proved everyone wrong when she cruised to win the first set 6-2. However, a huge upset looked to be on the cards as the Czech bounced back and stormed to win the second set by a one-sided 6-1 scoreline. The top two seeds in the tournament faced a huge possibility of exiting one after another as Siniakova stepped up her game and jumped out to a 5-3 lead. Despite so, she was unable to deal well with the pressure, eventually giving away four straight games and gifting the confidence-boosting win to Kerber in exactly two hours.
Kuznetsova escapes from the brink
Everything seemed to be going wrong for all the seeds as Svetlana Kuznetsova found herself in deep trouble against Alison Riske. Looking to back up her straightforward victory over Yaroslava Shvedova in the previous day, the eighth seed saw the American take advantage of a slow start by the Russian, strolling to the victory of the first set in just 40 minutes. Saving a match point in a lengthy second set and breaking serve for the first time in the match while Riske served for the upset, Kuznetsova stormed back to seal the victory in just 2 hours and 26 minutes, with a quarterfinal spot being within her reach.
Mladenovic slithers through
Getting through a marathon third set tiebreak, Kristina Mladenovic suffered a huge scare as she defeated Lauren Davis in three tough sets to continue her good run and progress to the third round. Thought to be a routine victory for the Frenchwoman after winning the first set 6-3, Davis came up with the best reply possible to win the second set 6-1 and level the match. A 73 minutes final set saw both players give their best, and eventually, the higher-ranked player prevailed for a spot in the next round.
Arruabarrena carries the Spain flag
There was an upset being played out as home favourite Lara Arruabarrena shocked Barbora Strycova in three sets, bouncing back from a one-set deficit to triumph. Strycova first clinched the first set 6-3 after winning five straight games from being 1-3 down and looked on course for a straightforward victory as she led by a set and a break. However, it was the Spaniard who won four straight games of her own to level the match, taking the momentum entering the final set as she eventually broke serve twice to seal the upset.
Suarez Navarro returning to her best form
Another home favourite triumphed on the clay courts in Madrid as Carla Suarez Navarro, a former Top 10 player, outclassed Caroline Wozniacki in three sets. In a set full of service breaks, it was the Spaniard who got the better of the Dane as she won the first set with a tight scoreline of 6-4. Having recently entered the Top 10 once again, Wozniacki stepped up her game and strolled to a routine 6-2 victory of the second set to level the match. The match eventually came to an end at midnight as Suarez Navarro rattled off five straight games from 1-2 down in the final set to enter the third round.
Sharapova misses her chances; Bouchard puts in an excellent display
The highly-anticipated match of the day between Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova had a shock winner as the Canadian battled to her first ever victory over the five-time Grand Slam champion in just under three hours. Opening up a formidable 4-2 lead with a game point to consolidate the break, Sharapova looked on course for another routine win over the player who made the harshest comments about her suspension. However, everything went wrong for the Russian from then on as she lost five of the next six games, failing to hold her serve at 5-5 as she wasted three game points and in the last game where she allowed Bouchard to successfully serve out the set after she missed a crucial break point.
The former Top 10 player seemed the favourite to win the match for the first time after she earned a break point in the third game of the second set, but was pegged back by the determined Sharapova as she rattled off four straight games to clinch the second set 6-2. It seemed like a galore of missed break points as a total of 12 break points came and gone for both players, and Bouchard made the first breakthrough when she broke serve to love. Despite Sharapova breaking straight back. Bouchard regained the advantage and once again successfully served out the match, fending off two costly break points in the process.