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New venue, new names: Goerges and Bellucci
Sensations in both men's and women's draw as Madrid Open 'mini-slam' showcases world's top players ahead of French Open.
Last Modified: 06 May 2011 22:06
Julian Goerges will break into the top 20 after her performances took her to the semifinals [GALLO/GETTY]

From a distance, only a glimmer of silver roof can be made out of the place where the best tennis players in the world are currently on display.

There are first glimpses on posters, as you approach the 'magic box', of this travelling circus of highly skilled individuals swinging their flashy rackets in the capital of Spain these days, before moving on to the capital of Italy and, in a culmination of the clay court season, the equally lovely capital city of France: Paris, for the second Grand Slam of the season.

There are those who call the Mutua Madrid Open a mini-slam, with this Masters Series event bringing together as it does the best in the men's and women's game at an interesting intermediary point in the season.

Now in its third year after a move from the 'Casa de Campo' area of the city, the 'Caja Magica' in the South of Madrid still shines as though freshly placed next to the Manzanares River, and gives off an equally new feeling inside.

Three main stadium courts are covered by this metallic roof which will give the tournament an entirely modern feel for years to come. And off to one side, the 'Tennis Garden' offers sixteen practice court, including one blue court upon which sat tournament organiser Manolo Santana, the legendary tennis player of Spain's past, giving an interview.

On the Centre Court which carries his name, a new German starlet was continuing to cause sensations at this tournament. Having taken care of world number one Caroline Wozniacki in a hard fought 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory the previous day, Julia Goerges returned to the centre court of the Caja Magica and added an impressive 6-4 6-2 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to her collection here.

Relentless

It was a display of impressive intensity, hard-serving, and relentless ground-strokes from Goerges, who notched up her second career title in Stuttgart last month. Now, the semifinals await for the 22-year-old who will break into the top 20 in the world after her strong showing in Madrid. 

Equally surprising came the semifinal run of another new name at this stage of a Masters Series tournament; Thomaz Bellucci.

The stylish Brazilian left-hander, showing flashes of brilliance reminiscent of his former French Open winning countryman Gustavo Kuerten, produced the upset of the evening on Thursday as he ousted world number four Andy Murray in a magnificent 6-4, 6-2 win.

A day later, he surprised Tomas Berdych 7-6, 6-3 to make his first ever Masters Series semifinal.

There awaits a date with destiny. That must be what each opponent of Novak Djokovic feels when facing the still undefeated Australian Open champion in 2011.

"So when are you going to get tired?" Djokovic was asked in his press conference following the comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over home player Garcia-Lopez on Thursday.

"Never," was his succinct reply.

The same seems to be true of Rafael Nadal, the defending champion who booked a possible semifinal showdown with Roger Federer by breezing past Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2 in 75 minutes.

Showing plenty of magic touches in the process, Nadal confirmed once more, not that it was necessary, that he will be the player to beat not only here in Madrid, but also in Rome, and of course in Paris.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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