Fans with tickets to the center court at the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open got their money’s worth today as no less than three of the WTA’s most popular stars entered the big arena this afternoon.
First up was Stuttgart finalist Ana Ivanovic facing American Madison Keys, followed by the Stuttgart champion Maria Sharapova against Klara Koukalova and Serena Williams’ match against youngster Belinda Bencic. While all three ladies are very much different players, they shared a common fate today as the three top players all got past their opponents in straight sets.
While the action on center court was quickly-paced, the first match on Court 2 dragged along for a long while as Petra Kvitova’s duel with Sorana Cirstea turned into a marathon affair. Both players are prone to be involved in rollercoaster-type matches and very much lived up to their reputation today.
The Czech dominated the first set, followed by a rebound from Cirstea late in the second set. The match went all the way into a third-set tiebreak as former Madrid champ Petra Kvitova had to put in the hours to clinch her very first clay win of 2014.
Meanwhile, the smaller courts featured plenty of great matches as well. One of them was the duel between Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova, a thrilling three-setter in which the Czech kept the upper hand. Also in action was Maria Kirilenko, the popular Russian is rebounding from a lengthy injury and kicked her Madrid campaign off with a straight set win over qualifier Kristina Mladenovic.
Unfortunately, a great day of tennis at the Caja Magica ended prematurely as the match between Caroline Garcia and Angelique Kerber was cut short due to the German retiring with back problems. Kerber called the trainer at the end of the first set and continued for a few games before following her coaches advice and throwing the towel, an anticlimactic end to a very impressive performance by the French youngster.
Monday will see even more WTA stars enter the tournament as Agniezska Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and many more players are due to kick off their 2014 Mutua Madrid Open campaign.