Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 19 News List

Top seeds Radwanska, Kerber ousted in Madrid

AFP, MADRID

Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic returns to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in their Mutua Madrid Open first-round women’s singles match in Spain on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Top seeds Agnieszka Radwanska and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber crashed out of the Mutua Madrid Open in the first round on Sunday in major setbacks ahead of Roland Garros.

Poland’s Radwanska, the top seed in the absence of Serena Williams, lost 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 to a rejuvenated Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

Radwanska, a semi-finalist in 2012 and 2014 in the Spanish capital, already knew the dangers posed by Cibulkova after her opponent came within a point of victory in their previous meeting at Indian Wells in March.

Cibulkova, a former world No. 10 and Australian Open runner-up, was always going to be a dangerous floater having won her fifth career WTA Tour title last time out in Katowice, Poland, three weeks ago.

Second-seeded German Kerber was dumped out by the Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-2, with her defeat coming just a week after she had retained her title in Stuttgart, Germany.

However, Kerber was outplayed by world No. 33 Strycova, who she had beaten 6-1, 6-1 in Miami in March.

“I won four games in the matches we played before,” Strycova said. “I went into this match thinking I had nothing to lose. I mean, it can’t be worse than Miami.”

The losses for Radwanska and Kerber mean Garbine Muguruza is the highest seed left at the clay-court event and the Spanish world No. 4 sealed her place in round two with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Anna Schmiedlova.

“Of course, I was a little bit nervous and tense because the first matches are always complicated,” said Muguruza, who is aiming to be the first Spanish woman to win the title in Madrid. “In Madrid we have this extra pressure because I’m here at home.”

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka stretched her winning streak to 15 matches after winning in Indian Wells and Miami as she overcame some stiff first-set resistance from Britain’s Laura Robson to win 6-4, 6-2.

Azarenka could meet defending champion and fifth seed Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals after the Czech had no trouble in disposing of Lara Arrubarrena 6-3, 6-2.

US Open finalist Roberta Vinci, the seventh seed, is out after losing in straight sets to Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-2.

Germany’s Laura Siegemund continued her great start to the clay season after reaching the Stuttgart final as a qualifier when she dumped out ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

Eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro came from a set down to beat Hungary’s Timea Babos 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Ana Ivanovic also had to go the distance to see off Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, while 2014 French Open runner-up Simona Halep, the Romanian sixth seed, swept past Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-0, 6-3.

There was also a notable win for Swiss 10th seed Timea Bacsinszky, who saw off Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, despite only arriving in Spain at midnight having won the title in Rabat on Saturday.

Also shrugging off jet lag was Czech 11th seed Lucie Safarova, the champion in Prague on Saturday, who beat Coco Vandeweghe 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.

Australia’s Samantha Stosur, beaten by Safarova in the Czech final 24 hours earlier, was also a winner, seeing off Sara Sorribes of Spain 6-1, 6-3.

In the first round of the men’s singles, Aleksandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine rallied to defeat Steve Johnson of the US 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco ousted Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).

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