Wednesday at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open was all about players securing their spots in the tournament’s quarterfinals.
The first two big-name players to complete their matches were Petra Kvitova & Maria Sharapova and while the Czech Wimbledon champ had no problems with getting past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sharapova had a real challenge on her hands for the first time this week in Caroline Garcia.
After winning the second set, the young Frenchwoman came very close to upsetting the reigning Madrid champion, but the Russian superstar fought it out in the end in her trademark fashion.
After that, it was time for the match of the day as Serena Williams faced off with Victoria Azarenka. Before Azarenka’s long-term injury, these players had met in high-profile finals several times in 2012 & 2013, including two US Open finals, that always produced cracking tennis.
Wednesday’s encounter was no different, the match was packed with drama. It all started with Victoria Azarenka blowing a 5-1 lead in the first-set tiebreak, forcing the Belarusian to take the long way home and lose it in three sets.
Once the second set was in the bag, the real drama unfolded as the match went back and forth in the third set. Azarenka ended up with three match points, almost hitting an ace on her first try and the stadium was all ready to celebrate the winner until umpire Marija Cicak ruled the ball out.
Disappointment from coming so close to winning seemed to weigh down on Azarenka afterwards. She wasted two more match points by double-faulting, a situation she never recovered from again and Williams decided the third set tiebreak in her favor after 2:46 hours of highly exciting tennis.
While Sharapova, Kvitova & Williams are through to the quarterfinals, Ana Ivanovic’s stay in Madrid has ended following her three-set loss to Carla Suarez Navarro. After losing the first set against the Spaniard, Ivanovic rallied back in an impressive fashion to force a third-set decider that ultimately went the clay specialist’s way.