Some delicious men’s match-ups were set up, and some heavy hitters were dismissed on the women’s side on Wednesday at the combined ATP/WTA event in Madrid.
No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 13-seeded John Isner set up a Thursday meeting, the Spaniard beating Ukrainian qualifier Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jr. in straights, and Isner coming back to beat Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.
In upsets Nicolas Almagro ousted No. 4 Robin Soderling in straights, Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez advanced when No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired after a set with a back injury, and the hot-handed Ernests Gulbis topped No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in straights.
No. 15 Stan Wawrinka won to set up an all-Swiss meeting with world No. 1 Roger Federer, and (8) Marin Cilic will face (9) David Ferrer.
Former No. 1 Serena Williams’ troubles continued when she blew a one-set lead to Nadia Petrova, losing in three to the Russian in a clay cloud of 41 errors, then afterwards ripped the tournament.
“I wasn’t moving my fastest but all I could do was try and do the best I could. I don’t know. I definitely wasn’t at my best,” Williams said, going on to criticize the tournament for its scheduling. “This isn’t a player-favorite tournament, just to be honest. None of the players are really gung-ho about playing here.”
The elder Williams sister Venus avoided an upset, coming from a set down to defeat Italy’s wily Francesca Schiavone. No. 7-seeded Jelena Jankovic won a battle of former No. 1s in a match where no love was lost, beating fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic 6-1 in the third.
Women’s matches to watch for Thursday include No. 8 Sam Stosur vs. Patty Schnyder, and in doubles the top-seeded Williams sisters vs. Maria Kirilenko and Aggie Radwanska.
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