By Ros Satar, in Madrid
- Barbora Strycova def. Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-2
- Dominika Cibulkova def. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3
- Draw blown wide open with absence of the World’s Top 3
MADRID, SPAIN – The first real shock of the tournament came as Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber exited the Mutua Madrid Open in her opening match, followed by top seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Barbora Strycova def. Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-2
After a brief dip in form since winning the Australian Open , it looked as though Kerber had found her mojo reaching two semi-finals in a row, and then winning her second straight Stuttgart title, but all that appeared to have taken its toll on the German.
The last time they met, Kerber dominated Strycova, who in the second round of the Miami Open, for the loss of just two games, and Strycova joked (as reported in WTATennis.com)
“Oh my god, it’s been so difficult. I’d win four games in the matches we played before. I went into this match thinking I had nothing to lose. I mean, it can’t be worse than Miami!”
The Czech has had a good year too, reaching the Australian Open and the Dubai final, but her win over Kerber blows the bottom half the draw wide open.
She said: “We have similar games. She’s a very patient player with good defence. It’s tough to win a point against her because she puts every ball back. It’s difficult for me because I’m a smaller player and I have a similar game to her, so it’s difficult for me to be patient, because I’m not a patient person. That’s why it’s difficult for me to be patient on the court.
“But I tried to be patient today and it worked; that’s the way I have to be on court, and I’m practicing that.”
After the match, Kerber told reporters: ‘To be honest I am really tired. I didn’t play my best tennis today and I made a lot of unforced errors. I tried in the second set to find my rhythm and come back, but I was not able to play my game today. I have played a lot of matches in the last few weeks and I felt tired today on court, but I love to play in Madrid so I came here to play good tennis.
“My back is a little bit stiff but I think my whole body is a little bit tight and stiff from the last matches especially on clay, so I will make sure I have a good recovery in the next few days.”
Dominika Cibiulkova def. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3
The top half of the draw also got blitzed when top seed Radwanska fell in the final set to the determined Cibulkova, who battled away for two hour and 37 minutes to upset the Pole.
Radwanska had joked in Stuttgart that clay was not an easy surface for her, but her run to the semi-final had been a solid result to start the season. After being thwarted in the first set, Radwanska fought back in a tight set to win the tie-break, sand it looked like she was on her way with a 2-0 lead in the decider.
But Cibulkova dug deep to fight back, winning six of the last seven games.
The top part of the top quarter lost all four seeds in that section, as Svetlana Kuznetsova, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci joined Radwanska on the way out, with Kerber the only seeded casualty at the bottom half of the draw.
Play continues at the Mutua Madrid Open at 12pm (11am BST).
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