For a while, it looked like Caroline Wozniacki was going to follow her victory over Serena Williams at Miami 2012 with another triumph in the third round of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open. It’s difficult enough to break Serena’s serve one time in a set. Wozniacki came out and broke Serena three times en route to a 6-1 first set win. I thought Caroline had a chance to beat Serena, but not blow her out. But then, Williams regrouped, especially on serve where she didn’t lose another service game, roaring back to dismiss Caroline, 1-6 6-3 6-2. Up next is Maria Sharapova, who won on a walkover as Lucie Safarova was unable to play due to illness. Any time arguably the two biggest stars on the WTA play, it’s good for the game. However, despite Masha’s career defining win being her 2004 Wimbledon final victory at 17 years old over Serena, she has not fared well in her career against Williams, trailing the head to head 2-7. Serena claims Masha is the favorite because she comes in off a title in Stuttgart. That’s a bit of gamesmanship. Serena also won her last event, the Family Circle Cup, where she looked much more dominant. Add in the 7-2 advantage for Serena against Masha, and clearly Serena is the favorite. If Masha wins, and she does have a chance if she serves well, it would be huge for her confidence. It would also make me think Sharapova could regain the #1 ranking.
With all eyes on Serena, Masha, Caroline and Victoria Azarenka, possibly the 2nd best player in 2012, Agnieszka Radwanska, has quietly moved through the draw. But make no mistake, she is a real threat to anybody she faces here. Just ask Masha, who lost to Aga in the final at Miami 2012. Radwanska might not have the marquee name like Serena or Sharapova, but she sure has the game.
Singles – Third Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) w/o (GI illness)
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 76(1) 64
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. (6) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 16 63 62
(Q) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 61 67(3) 63
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 62 76(5)