• Spain's news in English

Serena Williams defends Madrid title in first battle

AFP/The Local · 6 May 2013, 09:28

Published: 06 May 2013 09:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Putintseva had come through two rounds of qualifying and seemed to handle the warm conditions better early on in an extremely tight first set.

Both women broke each other once and Putintseva managed to save another three break points to force the set into a tie-break.

However, the world number 88 finally crumbled at 5-4 in the tie-break as she fired long and Williams served out the set before taking control in the second, breaking four times to close out the match.

"I felt a little sluggish at the beginning, but happily I was able to win," said the 15-time Grand Slam winner.

"I know I will need to play better as each match goes on."

Williams believes the warm conditions in the Spanish capital should be to her advantage as the tournament progresses.

"I have been training in Europe for a little more than a week, but long enough. I trained in Paris for a few days and then I came here.

"I think these clay courts are really good, they are a little bit quick which is really good for me and it's also a lot warmer here so overall its really good."

China's world number five Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion, was the biggest name to fall when she was taken apart by American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2.

Keys had only got into the tournament as a lucky loser thanks to the withdrawal of Tamira Paszek after being beaten by compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the qualifiers.

But she dominated from the off with her heavy groundstrokes producing a series of errors from the Chinese.

World number 10 Caroline Wozniacki was the other major name to be eliminated as the former world number one was beaten in straight sets by Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, 6-2, 6-4.

Venus Williams was forced to pull out of the tournament with a back injury.

The world number 21 had been due to open play on the main showcourt against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues.

"I was desperate to play in the Madrid Open this year, but unfortunately due to the pain in my back I cannot compete," she said in a statement.

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova was forced to go the distance against Yanina Wickmayer.

Story continues below…

The world number 36 took the first set 6-4, but former Wimbledon champion Kvitova bounced back to take the next two sets 7-5, 6-4.

Sixth seed Angelique Kerber also took three sets to beat Su-Wei Hsieh 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and 16th seed Ana Ivanovic came from a set down too as she overcame Mattek-Sands 6-7 (10/12), 6-3, 6-2.

Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed, had a comfortable afternoon as she saw off Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Britain's Laura Robson and Marion Bartoli is also safely through after her opponent Elena Vesnina retired with the score 6-3, 3-0 in the Frenchwoman's favour.

In the men's tournament,16th seed Gilles Simon stayed on course for a potential third round meeting with Andy Murray as he came from a set down to beat compatriot Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

And home favourite Fernando Verdasco set-up a second round meeting with Milos Raonic or Nikolay Davydenko as he overcame Belgian David Goffin 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available