The Madrid Masters began today with a slew of surprises, led by World No. 5 Elina Svitolina blowing a third set 5-1 lead and a total of six match points in a stunning loss to Jill Teichmann 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in first round action.
The lefty from Switzerland kept fighting despite the deficit. Svitolina, who fallen apart before with a big lead, held four MPs with Teichmann serving at 2-5 and two more at 5-6, but never on her own serve.
“Honestly, I didn’t even count them,” said Teichmann. “I was just thinking, I’m 5-1 down, but every game was close. I just ended up losing them. I always believed, even down match points, that I could do it.”
Teichmann nearly gave it back in the breaker, squandering a mini-break but then she hung on.
Spanish hope Garbine Muguruza had to withdraw due to a left thigh injury. Muguruza is just 5-6 career at her home event. She was due to face Sloane Stephens who won over lucky loser Danka Kovinic.
Ash Barty upped her win streak to five after easing past the dangerous Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 for a fourth time this year. Barty, who just won Stuttgart and Miami, has now won her last 12 matches on red clay.
“Every time you step out on the court against Shelby, you really need to be switched on, play your very best because she has the ability to take the match away from you very quickly,” Barty said. ”
It was important for me to start well, across the whole match. It was always going to be a big factor.”
Defending champion Kiki Bertens and 2018 winner Petra Kvitova also advanced. Kvitova got a retirement when countrywoman Marie Bouzkova had to stop down 6-2, 2-3 after tumbling and injuring her right hand. Kvitova now meets former No. 1 Angelique Kerber on Saturday in the second round.
“Actually it’s quite long time when we played each other I think as well,” Kvitova said. “I’m really looking forward to play her because, as I mentioned, is long time ago. She’s a lefty so that will be big challenge. I think she is still working very hard. That’s what I know. Still fighting and everything, even I think she doesn’t have that many matches as she wanted. I think she’s still there competing, fighting. That’s how we both will be.”
Kerber beat Kvitova’s countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova.
French Open champion Iga Swiatek rolled. Belinda Bencic was also a winner on opening day.
Tomorrow, the first round concludes with two blockbuster showdowns. The struggling Karolina Pliskova takes on American teen sensation Coco Gauff and ageless Venus Williams collides with Jen Brady.
“Not many girls which I’ve never, like, played before,” Pliskova said ahead of the first-time meeting. “For sure, she’s one of the young stars that is on the top right now. She’s playing quite well.
“I don’t know how is she on clay, to be honest. I don’t know how she played maybe last year. Definitely a match to look forward to. Yeah, hopefully a good level match.”
Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka are also on court.
FRIDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
Manolo Santana Stadium
Starts at 11:00 AM
(5) Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) v Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Misaki Doi (JPN) v (2) Naomi Osaka (JPN)
(3) Simona Halep v Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
(6) Karolina Pliskova (CZE) v Coco Gauff (USA)
Venus Williams (USA) v (11) Jen Brady (USA)
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