[QODLink]
Tennis

Nadal sails through, Azarenka struggles

Rafael Nadal looks comfortable on home soil at Madrid Open as Victoria Azarenka loses cool against Ekaterina Makarova.

Last Modified: 08 May 2013 19:26
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Nadal (L) is not getting ahead of himself following his opening 6-3, 6-4 victory over Benoit Paire [AFP]

Rafael Nadal made a comfortable start to his quest for a third Madrid Masters title on Wednesday but Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka slumped to a shock exit.

Nadal eased past Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4 and will next face either compatriot Nicolas Almagro or Mikhail Youzhny of Russia for a place in the quarter-finals.

One break in each set was enough for Nadal as he overcame some impressive variety and touch shown by Paire early on to break when the world number 37 was serving at 2-3 down in the opening set, before eventually sealing it 6-3.

"I'm not looking beyond the next round, it would be arrogant to do that so I am not going to do it"

Rafael Nadal

Paire had his only look at a break point on the Nadal serve early in the second set but couldn't take advantage, and in typical Nadal fashion he upped the pressure to break at 4-4 before serving out to book his place in the last 16.

Nadal insisted that it would be 'arrogant' to consider himself the title favourite following the shock exit of world number one Novak Djokovic at the hands of Grigor Dmitrov on Tuesday.

"I'm not looking beyond the next round, it would be arrogant to do that so I am not going to do it," said Nadal.

The seven-time French Open champion has compiled a 27-2 match record this year after missing seven months of with a knee injury.

That run has included trophies in Sao Paulo, Acapulco, Indian Wells and Barcelona.

Last year's finalist and sixth seed Tomas Berdych stayed on course for a quarter-final meeting with Andy Murray as he recovered from a set down against Jerzy Janowicz to win 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2.

German 13th seed Tommy Haas, the champion in Munich last weekend, saw off Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5 while French seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/1).

Japanese 14th seed Kei Nishikori will face Roger Federer in the third round after he beat Victor Troicki 7-5, 6-2.

Azarenka agitated 

On the women's side there was a big upset as world number three Azarenka crashed out to Russian Ekaterina Makarova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Azarenka had looked as if she would cruise into the last 16 early on as she dominated the world number 24 in the first set.

However, Makarova turned the match on its head in the second set as she broke early on and again with Azarenka serving at 2-5 to force the match into a decider.

   It was an emotional game for Azarenka, who blamed a lack of match fitness for early exit and end of 17-0 record [GALLO/GETTY]

There were even more twists and turns in the third as Azarenka again appeared to take control as she surged into a 2-0 lead, but the double Australian Open champion then fell to pieces with a string of unforced errors that allowed Makarova back onto level terms at 3-3.

Azarenka was then unhappy when she was docked a point by the umpire for smashing her racket in the next game as Makarova moved ahead for the first time in the set.

Makarova broke the former world number one to serve for the match and Azarenka barely even made the Russian earn it in the final game as she sailed well long three times to bow out with a whimper.

Azarenka, who had a 17-0 winning record on court this year going into the tournament, blamed her exit on a lack of match practice due to an injury that had kept her out for two months.

"I think it was really noticeable. I made mistakes that I don't normally do, but that's what comes after not playing for a long time," she said.

"I still have another tournament before the French Open to compete in, and I'm going to go back on the practice court as I always do and work hard to improve."

German sixth seed Angelique Kerber was the first woman into the quarter-finals with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over former French Open and US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

746

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
The Church of Christ built a $200m megachurch while analysts say members vote in a block.
join our mailing list