One of the biggest reasons to watch an entire tennis tournament rather than just the semifinals and/or championship match is that you never know when the best match will occur. This is especially true in the WTA where there have been dominant champions over the years like Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Monica Seles and others blowing out overmatched opponents in a final. I don’t know how the final of the 2016 Rio Olympics will play out, but whichever two players are in it will be hard-pressed to exceed the drama and high level of play demonstrated by Madison Keys and Kristina Mladenovic in round 2. In a 3-hour marathon of scintillating drama and first class skill, Maddie outlasted Kiki 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5), coming back from being down 3-5 in the final set tiebreak. Both players were winners on this day, although only Keys will advance. The question is how much will Maddie have in her legs going against Carla Suarez Navarro, a player that doesn’t blow opponents off the court with power but can run them around the court until they wilt. Keys leads the head to head 2-0 over Suarez Navarro but both matches went 3 sets, including a few months ago in Birmingham when Maddie won a third set tiebreak. Does Maddie have enough energy left to potentially go 3 sets with Carla right after an extended battle with Mladenovic?
While every tournament seems headed to an inevitable Serena Williams coronation, one of the few players that can legitimately challenge her on pure ability is Petra Kvitova. The problem is you never know what Petra is going to show up from match to match…heck, sometimes from set to set or game to game. When she brings her A game, she can beat anybody. She was on her game in dismissing Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4. If she wins her next match against Ekaterina Makarova, Kvitova would potentially face Serena in the quarterfinals. That is the quarterfinal match I would like to see. The hitch in that scenario is that Petra is as likely to beat Serena as she is to get blown out by Makarova. So with all due respect to Ekaterina and Serena’s 3rd round opponent Elina Svitolina, I hope both Serena and Petra make it through. If they do, we could get a match to rival the show put on by Keys and Mladenovic.
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11 PETRA KVITOVA (CZE) d. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 6-2 6-4
2 ANGELIQUE KERBER (GER) d. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN), 6-4 6-2
10 JOHANNA KONTA (GBR) d. Caroline Garcia (FRA), 6-2 6-3
LAURA SIEGEMUND (GER) d. Zhang Shuai (CHN), 6-2 6-4
3 GARBINE MUGURUZA (ESP) d. Nao Habino (JPN), 6-1 6-1
7 MADISON KEYS (USA) d. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA), 7-5 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5)