• Spain's news in English

Sharapova makes winning start in Madrid

AFP/The Local · 7 May 2013, 09:09

Published: 07 May 2013 09:09 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Russian, who won the French Open on clay last year, brought a 16-match winning streak on the surface into Madrid and was strongly favoured to coast past a player who has been dogged by knee injuries.

But she struggled at times in the first set before finding her range in the second.

It had all been about adjusting to the dirt surface and the particular demands of playing in Madrid, Sharapova said.

"I feel like in the last week I've really had to adjust to the different circumstances and the environment a bit," she said.

"When I got here it was really cold and the ball and the court were really heavy.

"A few days have passed and it's like a whole 'nother tournament.

"For me, it's just been about adjusting when you play indoors for over a week and you get back here and see the sun for the first time. It's a bit of an adjustment.

"The altitude as well. So I think there are a lot of things that come into playing when you're playing here."

The stakes are high for Sharapova in Spain as she could regain the world number one spot from Serena Williams if the results go her way.

Williams won through in straight sets on Sunday and the two could face off in the championship match at the end of the week.

Another former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus had a tough battle but the third-seeded Belarus player came through in two tie-breaks 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/3) against the in-form Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won the Portuguese Open on Saturday.

Azarenka, who opened the Grand Slam season with a repeat victory in the Australian Open, said that it had been the perfect match to return to after being away with a right ankle injury she suffered in late February at the Indian Wells tournament.

"Well, yeah, it was a tough match," said the 23-year-old.

"Honestly, I don't think I could have asked for a better match to start after a break.

"There was everything there. A lot of up and downs and a lot of fighting.

"Obviously she's (her opponent) playing really good now. She won a tournament. It's a great test for me for the first match.

"I'm really happy the way I pulled it off. It's a great platform to start improving and getting the preparation, more and more preparation for the next tournaments as well."

If Azarenka, Sharapova and Williams safely won through to the second round, the same could not be said of some of the other seeds.

Story continues below…

Both Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and China's Li Na crashed out on Sunday and Monday saw the end for Australia's Samnatha Stosur as she lost 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 to home hope Carla Suarez Navarro.

The 2011 US Open champion was competitive in the first set, but, once she lost that on a tie-break, her game unravelled and she was outplayed by the Spaniard, who lost the final of the WTA tournament in Portugal on Saturday to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Poland's fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska also bowed out, beaten comprehensively 6-3, 6-1 in the second round by fast rising 19-year-old Briton Laura Robson.

Robson will play either another former world number one Ana Ivanovic or South African qualifier Chanelle Scheepers in the third round.

Sixth seeded German Angelique Kerber came safely through with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alize Cornet of France, while former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, seeded third, was scheduled to play later against Pavlyuchenkova.

In early action in the men's tournament, Japan's 14th seed Kei Nishikori was too good for Jurgen Melzer of Austria winning at a canter 6-3, 6-2.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
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.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

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