Top-ranked Serena Williams breezed into the third round of the Madrid Open yesterday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over China’s Peng Shuai.
The US star broke her Chinese opponent three times for a 14th straight victory on the clay of the Caja Magica, where the top seed is looking to defend her title.
On the men’s side, Tomas Berdych moved to a perfect 11-0 against Kevin Anderson following his 6-1, 6-4 win over the South African, while top-ranked Rafael Nadal was to begin his title defense later against Juan Monaco.
On Tuesday, Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka suffered a shock defeat to Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem, as fellow Swiss Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament to attend the birth of his second set of twins.
A finalist in Madrid last year, Wawrinka seemed on course for a routine win after romping through the first set, but Thiem leveled with some excellent tennis in the second before sealing the biggest win of his career by beating his Swiss rival 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 with the only break of serve in the third set.
Thiem was himself surprised with the level of play he attained in the final two sets to register his first win against a top-10 player.
“I cannot really believe it,” the world No. 70 said. “I was in this famous zone during the match. I was really unbelievable concentrated.”
Federer’s withdrawal could benefit Andy Murray as the Scot is now the highest-seeded player left in the second quarter of the draw. He was to face Nicolas Almagro in his first match at the Caja Magica yesterday after the Spaniard needed 11 match points to finally see off Kazakh qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-7 (9/11), 7-6 (7/4).
Fifth seed David Ferrer also needed three sets to overcome fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-3, while there were also wins for Milos Raonic and the in-form Kei Nishikori.
Thirteenth seed Fabio Fognini raged at umpire Mohamed Lahyani after he was beaten 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 by Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and 14th seed Tommy Haas also suffered a first-round exit at the hands of the Netherlands’ Igor Sijsling in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 defeat.
There is still plenty of star power on show in the women’s tournament, with Li Na and Maria Sharapova triumphing.
Sharapova looked in fine form as she raced through the first set against American Christina McHale 6-1. However, McHale went on to take the second 6-4 and led 4-1 in the decider, only for Sharapova to respond by reeling off five straight games to set up a meeting with 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur in the last 16.
Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was also forced to three sets by the US’ Varvara Lepchenko before advancing 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, as Romania’s Simona Halep crushed Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-4 and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia beat compatriot Bojana Jovanovski 6-4, 6-2, 5
In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-chingof and Chanelle Scheepers of New Zealand were beaten 6-4, 6-1 by Zimbabwe’s Cara Black and partner Sania Mizra of India.
Later in the day, Federer and his wife, Mirka, announced the birth of a second set of twins, dramatically shortening the odds of the Federer twins winning a Wimbledon doubles title in the future.
The Swiss tennis ace revealed the news on Twitter just hours after pulling out of the Madrid event to be at the birth, tweeting: “Mirka and I are so incredibly happy to share that Leo and Lenny were born this evening! #TwinsAgain#Miracle.”
The two boys were born almost five years after the arrival of twin sisters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva in July 2009 triggered a flurry of jokes about future doubles champions.
Bookmakers even offered odds of 100-1 of the sisters emulating their famous father by teaming up to win at the All England Club, but those odds paled into comparison with the chances of another set of Federer twins being born.
While there was no agreement on the exact odds, the Internet provided a wide variety on the chances of parents having two sets of twins, ranging from 3,000-1 to 700,000-1.
Federer has been defying the odds on tennis courts all his life, winning a record 17 Grand Slam titles, and the announcement of twin boys sent social media into overdrive, with former world No. 1 Boris Becker tweeting: “Congrats to Mirka and @rogerfederer on the new addition to the #family ! #Leo and #Lenny will partner perfectly their older sisters in mixed.”
Former US tennis professional Justin Gimelstob added: “congrats to @rogerfederer #Mirka on the birth of #LEO and #Lenny the @Bryanbros @Bryanbrothers records could be in jeopardy!
Bob Bryan, who has won 15 Grand Slam doubles titles with twin brother Mike, responded: “Leo & Lenny! #thefuture #twinsrule.”
Tennis coach Darren Cahill posted: “Fed works in multiples! Congrats to the Federer family. Very cool. 2 sets of twins.”
Additional reporting by staff writer
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