The seeds continued their exodus Wednesday at the Madrid Masters where only one Top 16 reached the quarterfinals after four more lost.
Defending champion and No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova resumed her inconsistent 2016 dropping to spunky Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4. It was Gavrilova’s second straight win over the Czech after the Australian Open.
“I think Daria really played a solid match. I couldn’t put everything together out there – I was still dealing with the pain from Stuttgart” Kvitova said. “I couldn’t really practice for a week. I’m glad that I won two matches and I’m glad that it feels like it’s getting better, so hopefully I can start to do more fitness and tennis practice.”
The 2-time Wimbledon champion still hasn’t made a final this season.
No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka later withdrew due to a back injury.
“Unfortunately in my first match I think I tweaked my back a little bit. It was really cold, and, I don’t know, I think it’s much easier to get a little bit hurt when it’s that cold,” Azarenka said. “And the second match obviously I was in a lot of discomfort. Having a day off I thought it was going to get better. Today before my warm-up it did feel better, but once I started hitting it came back.”
Spanish favorite and 8th seed Carla Suarez Navarro couldn’t overcome a respiratory illness and bounced by former US Open champion Sam Stosur 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“When you go out there under the sun you can have a little bit of a headache when you have a cold,” Suarez Navarro said. “Also because all of the drugs that I had before going out there my stomach was hurting a little bit.”
Meanwhile, 6ht seed Halep advanced by beating fellow seed Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-3.
“I like more to play on clay,” Halep said. “I changed tactics. I played less power today and I just tried to mix up the game, to be more creative on court, and to open the court better, to play more on her forehand.
“So I did a good job, and I think I adjusted my game very well to hers.”
Halep, who hasn’t made a final since Cincinnati, was one of four Romanians to win on the day after Irina Camelia Begu (Cristina McHale), Patricia Maria Tig (Madison Keys) and Sorana Cirstea. (Madrid tournament director Ion Tiriac is also Romanian!)
Dominika Cibulkova was also a winner beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
On Thursday in the quarterfinals, Cibulkova meets Cirstea, Louisa Chirico gets Gavrilova, Halep battles Begu and Stosur takes on Tig.
Both Chirico and Tig are qualifiers. One of Cilbukova, Cirstea, Chirico or Gavrilova will make the finals and this Premier Mandatory WTA event.
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