Day 4 @MadridMutuaOpen: Murray Rolls to Round 3, Halep Survives Vinci Scare
Niall Clarke in Madrid
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Day four of the Mutua Madrid open saw Andy Murray, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem advance to the third round, whilst on the women’s side Simona Halep survived a scare.
Halep survives Vinci scare
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Simona Halep came from 5-2 down in the third set to defeat Roberta Vinci and book her place in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
The third seed was put under pressure early and eventually dropped serve at 2-2 in the first set. However, Halep found some rhythm and immediately broke Vinci back. Another break of serve from the Romanian was enough to seal the first set 6-3.
Set two stayed mostly on serve in the early goings, but Vinci took control of the match with a break at 3-2. The Italian’s slice backhand was giving Halep troubles and she was also hitting her forehand very well. Another break followed and Vinci took the set 6-2 to take us to a decider.
The momentum was behind the world number 34 who broke to take the lead in the third set. It looked like another upset was on the cards in the women’s draw, but Halep fought back to level the score when Vinci served for the match. It was a complete momentum shift as a now rejuvenated Halep ran away with the tiebreaker 7-2.
“Her game is not easy to play.” Halep said of Vinci post match.
“Her slices are very difficult to return. She was hitting pretty strong also with the forehand today, serve, everything. She played unbelievable.”
“Yeah, I was close to lose the match. But I stayed strong. I stayed focused. I didn’t give up. That makes this match much more like bigger for me. It means a lot.”
Halep is the defending champion of a tournament that has recently been very kind to the Romanians. Sorana Cirstea defeated Cici Bellis in straight sets earlier in the day whilst Irina Begu needed three sets to get past Johanna Larsson. That makes it three Romanian women into the third round of Madrid. So why is it that Romanians do well here?
“Maybe because Mr. Tiriac is the owner and makes everything like home,” Halep said with a smile.
“In my opinion, the altitude I think helps us. The fact that we are many Romanians here, also boys, coaches, so we are many. We feel relaxed, in my opinion.”
“Here for me is special because I won last year. I played one final before. I feel pretty good on this court. I played my best tennis last year at this tournament. I’m trying just to repeat it. It’s not going to be easy.”
“But I have a lot of support at this tournament. I want to thank to everyone for this.”
Murray marches into the second round
Andy Murray is through to the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open after a straight sets victory over Marius Copil on Manolo Santana stadium.
The world number one was tested by his Romanian opponent in the early stages, but ultimately pulled through 6-4, 6-3 to seal his passage into the round of 16.
It was Murray who carved out the first break point opportunities in Copil’s opening service game, but the Romanian managed to save them and the first set stayed on serve until the very end where Murray finally broke.
Despite recent issues with injury and some early defeats, Murray looked comfortable on serve and did not concede a single break point during the match. The Brit managed to break Copil at 3-2 in the second set and comfortably saw out the match to get his Madrid title quest underway.
“I found it difficult to start” Murray said post match.
“I haven’t practiced out there. Well, we practiced out there for 25 minutes before the match, this morning at like 11:00. That had been it.”
“It was very lively out there. It was probably the hottest it’s been since we’ve been here. Found it a bit difficult at the beginning to adjust to the conditions. Also never played him before. He serves big, comes forward a bit, uses dropshots. It was tricky.”
“But when I started to control the points more towards the end of the first set and second set, you know, I was hitting the ball pretty clean, creating a few chances. I didn’t give him any opportunities.”
“It was good for the first match.”
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Lucas Pouille out
Lucas Pouille became the third seed to be eliminated from the Mutua Madrid Open after a tough three set defeat to Pierre Hughes-Herbert.
Despite suffering with sickness over the weekend that forced the 13th seed to miss doubles, Pouille took to court and contested a tight three set match with his compatriot which he eventually lost 7-6(5), (4)6-7, 6-4.
The first set was a high quality affair with both men serving well. Each player shared one break point opportunity, but neither was converted and the set fittingly went into a tiebreak. Herbert seized the initiative early by earning two mini breaks. Pouille was able to get one back, but the set ended up going to the qualifier 7-5 in he tiebreaker.
Things went from bad to worse for Pouille as he conceded a break in the second set, but the world number 14 fought back to take us into another tiebreaker. This time it was Pouille who seized control and he went on to earn three mini breaks to take it 7-4.
Unfortunately for Pouille, it seemed like all his effort and energy was piled into getting that second set and Herbert was able to take control of the match. The qualifier break in the fourth game of the match and comfortably went on to serve out the match to love for a place in the second round.
“I got sick on Saturday so I was not able to play doubles yesterday” Pouille told us post match.”
“I was too tired and too weak so I decided to withdraw. Today I tried. I was not 100%, but I decided to go on court and try to win.”
“It was not that far, it was pretty close and I think he played a good match.”
Withdrawing rarely seems to be on the mind of Pouille, who has played through injury and illness in the past.”
“If I woke up this morning with a fever then I may have considered withdrawing.” Pouille added.
“But I was feeling ok to play. Not at full energy, but because I was feeling quite ok I decided to play.”
“If I can play, even at 60 or 70 percent, I try to go on court to win. We play a lot of matches during the season when you are not feeling your best, but you have to go on court.”
WTA Round Up
CoCo Vandeweghe is through to the third round after a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Laura Sigemund. The American moves on to face Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro for a spot in the quarter finals.
In the battle of the Chinese qualifiers, Qiang Wang emerged victorious over Saisai Zheng. The world number 64 came through 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to set up a match with Svetlana Kuzenstova in the next round.
Kiki Bertens improved to 3-0 against Timea Bacsinszky after a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory. The Dutchwoman will face Irina Begu in the third round on Wednesday.
ATP Round Up
Benoit Paire put in an impressive performance to beat the in-form Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4. The Frenchman was the more clinical of the two, converting half of his break point opportunities and saving nine of ten faced on his own serve. Paire moves on to face fourth seed and good friend Stan Wawrinka next.
It was not a good day on the whole for the Spanish men. Roberto Bautista Agut and Ivo Karlovic battled for over thee hours without a single break of serve, but in the end the big serving Croatian got the better of the crowd favourite 7-6(4), (9)6-7, 7-6(7). Albert Ramos followed Bautista Agut out of the tournament as he was surprisingly beaten comfortably by Diego Schwartman 6-1, 6-3. In an all Spanish affair, Nico Almagro defeated Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to set up a second round clash with Novak Djokovic. Alex Zverev completed the day of misery with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Fernando Verdasco on Manolo Santana stadium.
David Goffin was the first player to book his place in the third round of the mens draw. Despite a tough first set against Florian Mayer, the Belgian took over proceedings in the second and ran away with the match 7-6, 6-0.
Dominic Thiem is also through to the third round after a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jared Donaldson. The Austrian took the first set without facing a single break point, but after breaking in the second he was pegged back by his American opponent. The eight seed immediately broke again however and went on to secure a third round match against either Grigor Dimitrov or Ivo Karlovic.