Madrid semis: Williams vs. Hradecka, Azarenka vs. Radwanska

Wilson Blade 9

In the Madrid Open quarterfinals, ninth seed Serena Williams cruised past second seed Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-3 for her sixth straight win against a Top 2 player and her seventh straight win against Sharapova. Serena’s opponent in the semifinals will be Lucie Hradecka, whose dream run continued when after third seed Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Makarova she upset fifth seed Samantha Stosur 7-6(8) 7-6(6), hitting 19 aces in a match that had no breaks in regular games, as Hradecka saved four of four break points and Stosur one of one.

Top seed Victoria Azarenka put her dissatisfaction with the slippery blue clay aside and found a way to beat Li Na despite losing the first set in which the Chinese played “unbelievable”, as Azarenka said. Final score 3-6 6-3 6-3. Azarenka’s opponent in the semis will be fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska who beat Varvara Lepchenko 6-4 6-4. Infamously, Azarenka and Radwanska have played each other five times this year (and it’s only May!), and each time Azarenka won. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)


  1. I’m really impressed with Serena, she was efficient, calm, focused. Maria on the other hand was a shadow of herself, it really wasn’t her day. And I’m so happy for Lucie Hradecka! And of course for Radwanska, even though now she’ll have to play Azarenka. Again. I guess at this level it’s inevitable, the top 3 players will clash constantly, but still… The problem is that right now, it’s not Radwanska’s tennis thqt is not good enough to beat Azarenka, it’s more that Radwanska seem to completely crumble mentally when facing Azarenka. Like one of EuroSport commentators said today, Radwanska’s losing her matches against Azarenka not on court, but in her head. I hope that Wiktorowski can set her straight so at least she can put up some fight.

    Back to the most entertraining subject of the week, the famous (or rather infamous) smurf clay, I have few more remarks.
    First, it seems that Nadal and Djokovic didn’t really fight all that much, it was as if they choose to get out of there before they got injuried.
    And second, the tournament officials are perfectly aware that this blue joke of a clay is a disaster: the main court was out of commission today and on the others they keep passing the rack, keep wetting it even between the games so much, that sometimes players have to wait! And apparently yesterday they stayed up to 4 a.m. traying to work something out…
    And finally, are those damn clothing companies can’t adapt the players outfitts? Blue might be one of traditional colors for clay, but hey, is it really too complicated to change blue for something else for one tournament? Nike went for blue this season and in consequence their players disapear completely on that blue clay! What good it does to be able to see the ball better, if I can’t see the player?!

  2. Right as rain, Maggie. Now, as far as Serena goes, it is as if though some of Federer’s stoic attitude has rubbed off on her – and that’s surely the right way to go, once one has gotten into any messy situation. Also, those two have got the means to sustain them in almost any adversity – not so with the most, including Nadal and Djokovic (!). Though: Nadal (the manic creature of habit and superstition that he is) has complained the loudest, right from the start, but I wouldn’t say he “didn’t really fight all that much” – oh, he fought, hard, and lost; it rather applies to Djokovic, whose old sulking ways seem to be ready to raise their ugly head at the first opportunity anyway. (Just to make things clear, so as to beat any accusations of partiality to the punch: I’m certainly no Serena, no Nadal, and, obviously, no Djokovic fan.)
    Further, the pathetic, cosmetic interventions with the rack and the hose were beyond the hilarious. And, of course, *everybody* is “perfectly aware that this blue joke of a clay is a disaster” (or, as Federer has warned in advance, a “debacle”), everyone – except Ion Tiriac, who’ll “improve it”, to correct the fact that it is “a bit slippery”. Well, he has made some improvements already: the oldest ball-girls at the men’s quarter-finals wore less amount of fabric on their juicy young bodies than at any other tournament I can recall (and my memory goes quite a way back) – courtesy of the obliging Ellesse, of course.
    As for the clothing companies: yes, Nike (per usual) and another one or two have failed miserably (as if Ion Tiriac himself owned them) but quite a few have coped decently (both our statements are, of course, dependent on the matches watched).
    P.S. I just catch myself wondering if I love more agreeing or “quarrelling” with you. Be as it may, rage on!

  3. Tulp, the feeling is mutual, I also love our exchanges (whatever we’re agreeing on something or ‘quarrelling’). Finally someone with whom I can talk about tennis! (I’m afraid my family and friends are already quite exasperated with my obsession about it;).)
    This week I watched most of matches, since the weather in Paris is still horrible (so I’m not very motivated to go outside, since it’s neither safe nor pleasurable to run or play tennis in the rain), not to mention all the students works that I have to read:/ So, I keep one eye on the match, the other on whathever text I’m currently reading 😉
    Nike’s fail is about as epic as Tiriac’s – it was the worst with Federer, I could barely make him out on the court! As for Adidas, I still wouldn’t wear their orange clothes, but I must admit they work very well on this surface, the constrast between blue everything and white clothes with orange details are quite good looking. As for others, I rather liked Radwanska outfit. I don’t really like Lotto (all of their dresses seem to have the same cut!) but this one looked better with its dark blue/black color and the white stripes. And she has another one in the exactly opposite colors, white with the black stripes, which looks good too.

    Back to business: yep, Serena seemed to be much more stoic then usual. Maybe she had a really good day and felt that nothing can touch her or she just grew up. She’s not under some much pressure now, and with Venus’ sickness her priorities had to change. Suddenly wining or losing a match doesn’t seem like a matter of life and dead, isn’t it?
    You’re right, Nadal fought, but it was easy to see that he was not confident as usual on this surface, he wasn’t moving as good as he usually is. As for Nole – I’m his big fan, but I must agree with you, he can be quite “moody” when something is not going his way 😉
    Ellesse and ball-kids (?)… We already agreed that while clothes are not bad, the logo (more like a sign for partially sighted…) is definitely an overkill and now those ball-models showing more and more as the day continue. It’s getting really ridiculous. Change can be good, but this is a travesty!
    But I think that Tiriac went too far – with the big players rebelling to the point that they say they won’t participate in the tournament next year, he either have to change or the tournament will loose its position.
    OK my friend, time to sleep, Radwanska’s playing tomorrow at 10.50 a.m. and then I have my own match scheduled – maybe not as prestigious, but it still will be a lot of fun!

  4. And she lost. Again… OK, this time she put a little bit more of a fight, so she’s on the right track, but stiiiiill. It’s getting old, especially that Azarenka is not out of reach. Isia please, pull yourself together!
    Btw, on some polish forums, people were suggesting that when loosing, Agnieszka should start screaming like Azarenka, just to throw her opponent out of her depts – unrealy (not to mention it would be a real gamesmanship), but it would be fun to see how those screamers reacts when someone do something like that;)
    Did you guys noticed that they’re playing to almost empty stadium? OK, so Azarenka and Radwanska played a little bit early, but it’s the same right now with Williams vs. Hradecka. Semifinal, 1p.m. saturday, and the place is more then half empty. I wonder why’s that?

  5. Women are the pariahs of this tournament. All the time they played ‘matinees’, and only two (first) matches per day on the Central court. Add nationalism (the relative insignificance of Spanish female players) to male-chauvinism and the picture is complete. Well, that’s the Spanish mentality – but what about the shameful Eurosport’s policy? Anyway you turn it, an ugly tournament, this “5th Slam”.
    And Aga, eh… I suspect that the ireful indignation she feels toward Azarenka is working against herself, instead of against her opponent (as in the case of Ana who destroyed JJ in their first meeting after JJ’s ugly gesture and language following their previous one). If I’m right, help from a good (sports) psychologist would not be a bad idea. Be as it may, I hope she’ll work that out, one way or the other.

  6. I have to (gladly) eat my words concerning “Eurosport’s shameful policy” on telecasting the Mutua Madrileña Tournament: tomorrow’s coverage of Rome has just been posted on and it consists of 8 ATP and 6 WTA matches.
    I should have known better: the whole credit for discriminating against women at Madrid goes, of course, to the hosting moustachioed hidalgos.


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