Day 3 Recap from the 2016 @MutuaMadridOpen
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
It was a day full of WTA second round and ATP first round action, but the big news is that Roger Federer has withdrawn from the tournament with a back injury.
The world number three skipped practice on Sunday and Monday before calling a press conference to break that news that he had withdrawn.
The Swiss made the following statement: “Yeah, sorry Manolo. Number one, sorry to the tournament for coming and leaving without playing. I arrived and I was okay, and then I practiced on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit in practice and then stopped early. Supposed to practice for two hours; had to stop after an hour 15.
“Then, well, I was scheduled to practice yesterday and today but just don’t feel like I can practice. At this point I don’t want to take more chances as I know I’m not going to be fully ready for Wednesday. I would rather play it safe and rest up now and get ready for Rome.
“So that’s the schedule here now. I’m very disappointed, to say the least. I was hoping to play. I changed my schedule around and practiced well in Switzerland before coming here. This is not really what I wanted to do, come here and do a press conference about pulling out.
“It’s been a tough year, so I hope it gets better from here.”
Federer has had issues with his back before. It was an injury that plagued his 2013 season and caused him to miss the ATP World Tour Finals final against Novak Djokovic in 2014.
“Before the Davis Cup finals it was the most extreme I probably ever had” He added.
“This is normal back things I’ve had in the past, which I guess is good because I know how to handle it. I know how long it can take. Sometimes it can vary by a few days here or there.
“That’s why I’m pulling out today and not waiting until tomorrow. I felt like yesterday already it was probably not going to make it for Wednesday. I wanted to wait for an extra day and do treatment and all that.
“So it’s the back stuff I kind of know, and, yeah, I’m okay with it. At least I know what it is.”
Federer is scheduled to play Rome next week.
WTA second round begins
Following the first round upsets, many top seeds were in action looking to stray away from suffering a similar fate.
However the trend continued as third seed Muguruza was dumped out in three sets by Irina Begu. The Spaniard came from behind to win the opening set then served for the match in the second, but the Romanian came back to win in three sets to win 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.
Muguruza said post match: “I think the beginning of the match it wasn’t very well. I think I could have started better, but I managed to come back. I managed to fight and find my game.
“But I think it has been a very good game. I think she played pretty well. I played against Begu before “and I think that today she played much better than previous times.
“I think that she served very well. I had to fight everything that I can, but just didn’t go my way this time. I think she’s done an overall good match. That’s all.”
Petra Kvitova continued her good start to her title defence with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over a game Elena Vesnina.
When asked how she found the match the Czech responded: “Good. I won. In two sets. It was nice to be on center court again definitely. It’s a beautiful court, and even I have it to warmup this morning. Felt very special. Felt very great that I could play again on and win it.”
Victoria Azarenka was also victorious in straight sets. The Belarusian, who is perhaps the favourite for the title, defeated Alize Cornet 6-3,6-2 following Kvitova’s win.
But as many of the top seeds managed to avoid upsets, some of the lower seeded players bowed out. Karolina Pliskova lost in straight sets to Christina McHale. Unfortunately from an American perspective, Sloane Stephens also bowed out to Particia Tig. Elina Svitolina was another casualty at the hands of Daria Gavrilova. Ana Ivanovic won the first set but eventually lost to young American Louisa Chirico.
The Serb praised her opponent post match: “She (Chirico) played really well and raised her level. She generated a lot of power and I felt like this court was really taking her spin especially on the forehand. I think I did well to come back and win the first set, but in the second set I don’t think she made any errors at all. In the third set I don’t think I was aggressive enough, and as soon as I became a little bit passive she took advantage again, and got on top of the match.” Madison Keys rounded up a good day for the American’s with a straight sets win over the always difficult Barbora Strycova. The Czech had eliminated Kerber in the previous round.
ATP first round action continues
In one of the matches of the day, Lucas Pouille caused the first upset on the mens side of the draw with a hard fought three set win over David Goffin. The Frenchman saved four match points in the third set to complete the victory in a tense tiebreak.
David Ferrer was in action and needed three sets to defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The ninth seed had suffered from injury as of late but managed to defeat his compatriot 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet also won in a good day for the French. Simon needed three sets to defeat Marcos Baghdatis, whilst Gasquet was able to be Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets.
Feliciano Lopez kicked off the day on Manolo Santana with a three sets victory over Leonardo Mayer. Milos Raonic is also through after a 7-6, 6-1 victory. Denis Istomin, Andrey Kuznetsov, Radek Stepanek, Joao Sousa and Sam Querrey were also victorious.