Recap: @MutuaMadridOpen Day 6
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Day six of the Mutua Madrid was rather uneventful compared to previous days, but there was still plenty of tennis to go around as the men’s round three and women’s quarter finals wrapped up.
Top seeds sail through to the last eight
The men’s draw received its first big upset when Nick Kyrgios defeated Stan Wawrinka yesterday, but there was none of that to be seen today.
Andy Murray vs Gilles Simon started proceedings on Manolo Santana, and in what most expected to be a long and grueling affair, Murray was able to get the job done in one hour and 49 minutes with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
“Normally against Gilles it’s always a complicated match because of the way he plays,” said Murray in his post match press conference.
“He always makes it very difficult. There are a lot of long rallies. Because of the conditions, because it was a bit faster, I was able to get a lot more free points on my serve. I don’t think he had any break points in the match, so that helped. I served very well.
“Yeah, it was a good performance. I played smart tennis. That was the difference.”
Novak Djokovic also cruised through to the quarter finals with the loss of only three games to Roberto Bautista Agut. The Serb started slowly, but after 2-2 in the opening set he raised his level to defeat the Spaniard 6-2, 6-1.
“It was exactly after 2-all, that long game when I managed to break his serve. Flawless performance after that. Everything worked very well.” Djokovic said post match.
The Serb has a close relationship with Bernard Tomic, who recently made headlines for trying to return a serve with his racket handle. The world number one weighed in on that and the comments the Aussie made afterwards.
“I didn’t hear what his remarks were, but I’ve seen what he has done. You know, it’s not right. I hope he realizes that. The sooner the better for him, because he is still relatively young and he can definitely be a better player and better ranked than he is now.
“Everybody knows that. I think he knows that. But he doesn’t seem to really get things the right way off the court. I’m just hoping for him, because generally I — over last couple of years I got to know him better and he’s a good guy, he’s a good person, but he’s just failing to be committed to this sport as it is required.
“So I’m hoping for his sake that he’s going to do better.”
Djokovic will meet Milos Raonic in the quarter finals after the Canadian rallied past Jo Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. The Frenchman found it difficult to get into the service games of the Canadian, who managed to earn a break in both sets to set up a clash with the world number one on Friday.
Tomas Berdych will play Murray in the last eight after defeating David Ferrer 7-6, 7-5. The Czech served for the match at 5-4, but was broken back by the Spaniard. The eighth seed then broke again before successfully serving it out the second time around.
Kei Nishikori will play Nick Kyrgios in another quarter final set today. The Japanese scored a first-ever win over Richard Gasquet on Estadio 3, 6-4, 7-5.
“When you lose six in a row maybe you have to change something to beat Richard today.” Said Nishikori.
“I think I did pretty good everything: serve, return, and using my forehands a lot and I was playing aggressive, so I think it was good tennis.”
Kyrgios back up his previous round upset with a solid win over Pablo Cuevas. The Aussie survived time violations, foot faults and the gritty Uruguayan to come through in three sets 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
Rafael Nadal survived an early scare from Sam Querrey to come through in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. The American led 4-1 after playing some blistering tennis in the opening stages, but the wheels eventually fell off as Nadal took control. The Spaniard will play Joao Sousa in the quarter finals. The Portuguese won a three set battle with Jack Sock 6-1, 6-7, 6-2.
Chrico, Halep, Cibulkova and … complete semi final line up
The absence of Serena Williams may have left a dent in the draw from an American perspective, but a 19-year-old prospect may have just made her breakthrough. Louisa Chirico has come through qualifying to make her first WTA semi final in Madrid. The American successfully dispatched Daria Gavrilova 7-6, 6-2 in the first piece of action on Arantxa Sanchez Vicario court. Chirico’s result this week also means she will break the top 100 for the first time in her career when the new WTA rankings are announced on Monday.
“Yeah, I can’t really describe how I feel.” Chirico said post match.
“Definitely excited. I think my adrenaline is still going a little bit. Yeah, I’m very happy to get the win today. It was a tough match.”
“I’m looking forward to my next match as well. Hopefully I can keep going.”
Her opponent in the last four will be Dominika Cibulkova, or should we call her Houdini Cibulkova. Once again the Slovakian lost the opening set, and yet against she fought back to win in three. Sorana Cirstea was one of four Romanians in the quarter final draw and was looking to become the second into the last four with a win today. Cirstea took the opener 6-4, but Cibulkova was once again able to raise her game to take the following two sets 6-3, 6-3.
Simona Halep had a second set blip but managed to defeat her compatriot Irina Begu 6-3, 0-6, 6-1 on Manolo Santana stadium. The sixth seed is the only remaining seed left in the draw and is surely the title favourite heading into the weekend.
Sam Stosur awaits Halep in the semi finals. The Aussie ended the dream run of Patricia Tig with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Manolo Santana stadium.