Mon, May 08, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Top seed Kerber safely through in Madrid Open


France’s Alize Cornet on Saturday plays against Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in their first-round match of the Madrid Open tennis tournament in Spain.

Photo: EPA

World No. 2 Angelique Kerber yesterday eased into round two of the Madrid Open with a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win over Hungary’s Timea Babos.

The German is the top seed in the draw with world No. 1 Serena Williams absent, as the 23-time Grand Slam champion is expecting her first child.

Kerber’s form has been inconsistent this season, but she was rarely troubled in wrapping up victory in just over an hour on court.

Maria Sharapova was yesterday to continue her comeback from a 15-month doping ban, facing Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

The Russian could set up a mouth-watering grudge match against Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the second round with victory.

Bouchard called Sharapova “a cheater” last week and suggested she should have been banned for life after testing positive for meldonium at the 2015 Australian Open.

“I hope I can play Maria,” said Bouchard. “Once I step on the court, everything will be to the side. But, you know, inside myself, I think I’ll have a bit more motivation.”

British No. 1 Johanna Konta was knocked out in the Madrid Open first round by Laura Siegemund in the early hours of yesterday morning in a match that finished after 2am.

With all six scheduled matches on the main Manolo Santana court going the full three sets, the on-form Siegemund, fresh from winning in Stuttgart, Germany, last week, and sixth seed Konta did not get on court until just before midnight.

Konta appeared to have handled the long wait better as she took the first set 6-3.

However, Siegemund battled back to take her winning streak to six matches, four of which have come against top 10 players, by taking the final two sets 7-5, 6-4.

World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova was the only seed in action on Saturday to survive and even the Czech was pushed hard by Lesia Tsurenko before winning 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 6-2.

Ninth seed Madison Keys was beaten by Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

And 12th seed Elena Vesnina’s poor form since winning in Indian Wells in March continued with a straight sets 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Romanian Irina Begu.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic yesterday hinted that he would follow the trend of hiring a highly successful former player as his new coach, but says he will take his time to make the right decision.

Djokovic parted with long-time coach Marian Vajda on Friday, having also ended a three-year relationship with six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker at the end of last season, in a bid to get back to his brilliant best.

“It’s going to be someone that has been through similar experiences like I have,” said the world No. 2. “Not too many people in the past of tennis have managed to get to that stage and play at that level, so I’ll see.”

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