>> Saturday, May 5, 2012
In a hectic schedule for the second day of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain, the two best players in the WTA tour start their campaigns with world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka facing the trickiest first round opponent in two-time Grand Slam winner and former world no. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova; and world no. 2 Maria Sharapova hoping to build on her clay court season against a relatively unknown Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Watch the 2012 Madrid Open Live featuring Azarenka and Sharapova in action here. Sunday is also the day when the men’s main draw gets under way and the final few qualifiers are confirmed.
After Saturday’s first full day of action, an upset has already been scored as world no. 7 Marion Bartoli was sent home packing by Romania's Sorana Cristea 67(6) 64 63. Another Romanian almost upstaged former finalist Venus Williams but Venus battled hard to beat Simona Halep in a third set tiebreak 61 46 76(6). World no. 5 and former French Open finalist Samantha Stosur also prevailed by downing Croatia's Petra Martic 75 46 76(5). Next for Stosur is young American Christina McHale. Other winners were Mona Barthel, Klara Zakopalova and Spanish wildcard Sílvia Soler-Espinosa. Barthel came alive from 4-2 down in the opening set, winning 10 of the next 11 games to beat fellow German Julia Goerges, 64 61.
Azarenka, a finalist in last year’s singles final and a winner in the doubles, returns to the Caja Mágica’s central court after a year where she won her first Grand Slam title and reached the top ranking. In 2011, Azarenka was the no.4 seed, and was the first to advance to the final, toughing out a 47-minute first set then cruising through a 31-minute second set to beat German Julia Goerges, 64 62. Azarenka has not only won 19 of her last 21 matches at that point last year - and both losses were injury retirements, including one against Goerges - but by virtue of reaching the final she then secured a rise from No.5 to No.4, which will make her the highest-ranked Belarusian in WTA history (Natasha Zvereva made it to No.5).
On Sunday, the day gets under way with 2009’s winner Caroline Wozniacki taking on Ksenia Pervak. In the afternoon Sharapova makes her first appearance in this year’s Mutua Madrid Open. After spectacularly beating Azarenka in Stuttgart last week, the Russian will return to clay, a surface on which she has improved substantially in the last while. While Azarenka is expected to dominate her quadrant of the draw, Sharapova is in a tricky one where she will likely be challenged by Wozniacki and Charleston 2012 winner Serena Williams.
2012 Madrid Open Live - Sunday, May 6, 2012 Order of Play
Manolo Santana (from 11.00hrs)
1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Ksenia Pervak
2. ATP: Karlovic vs. Davydenko
3. Victoria Azarenka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
4. Irina-Camelia Begu vs. Maria Sharapova
5. ATP: Anderson vs. Bogomolov Jr.
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (from 11.00hrs)
1. ATP: Gil vs. Gimeno-Traver
2. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino
3. Mathilde Johansson vs. Ana Ivanovic
4. Francesca Schiavone vs. Varvara Lepchenko
Stadium 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. ATP: Cipolla vs. Hanescu
2. Angelique Kerber vs. Johanna Larsson
3. Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
4. Roberta Vinci vs. Dominika Cibulkova
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Nadia Petrova vs. Vania King
2. ATP: Sanjurjo Hermida vs. Delbonis
3. ATP: Andreev vs. Bautista-Agut (NB 14.30hrs)
4. ATP: Stakhovsky vs. Roger-Vasselin
Court 5 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Jarmila Gajdosova
2. Monica Niculescu vs. Lourdes Domínguez Lino
3. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Jill Craybas
4. Maria Kirilenko vs. Zheng Jie
Court 7 (from 12.30hrs)
1. Shahar Peer vs. Polona Hercog
2. ATP: Giraldo vs. Muñoz-de la Nava
3. ATP: Falla vs. Cervantes