Maria Sharapova took a step forward towards reviving her season by winning in Stuttgart. She almost took two steps backwards in the 2nd round of the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open. Facing 21-year old American Christina McHale, Masha found herself in a 1-4 deficit in the third set. McHale is a very good player, but a 2nd round exit in Madrid would have been a real setback both psychologically and points wise, since Sharapova is defending her points from last year’s runner-up finish. But Masha didn’t become the champion that she is by wilting when the heat is turned up. Instead, the career Grand Slam winner reeled off the last 5 games of the match to escape with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 victory.
For all the trouble Masha found herself in with McHale, it paled in comparison to how close Agnieszka Radwanska came to an early exit on the Spanish clay. Although, to be fair, perhaps one could see this coming. After all, Aga had lost 6 straight matches to Svetlana Kuznetsova and trailed her 3-10 in their overall head to head. Svetlana might not be the player she once was but she still is a 2-time singles Major winner with veteran moxie. In a final set tie-break, Kuznetsova went up 6-3, holding 3 match points. But as Masha won five straight games to overcome McHale, Aga won five straight points to win the tie-break 8-6 and the match 6-3 4-6 7-6 (6).
Many of the WTA’s biggest stars, including Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Ana Ivanovic joined with the Mutua Madrid Open and Fundación Mutua Madrileña to speak out against domestic violence. If you live in the United States and you or someone you know are the victim of domestic violence, you can contact your local domestic violence resources or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-7233.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-2 6-3 vs Peng Shuai)
2 LI NA (won 6-2 6-3 vs Zheng Jie)
3 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (won 6-3 4-6 7-6 (6) vs Svetlana Kuznetsova)
4 SIMONA HALEP (won 6-4 6-4 vs Lara Arruabarrena)
8 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-1 4-6 6-4 vs Christina McHale)
11 ANA IVANOVIC (at Samsung Booth, won 6-4 6-2 vs Bojana Jovanovski)