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WTA Madrid - Venus, Stosur stretched on the blue clay

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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645   //    06 May 2012, 09:50 IST

The debate of red vs blue clay was finally put aside as the Madrid Open got underway on Saturday with first round women’s matches.

Former world no. 1 Venus Williams continued her comeback form Sjorgen’s Syndrome but needed a third set tie break to beat the Romanian youngster Simona Halep.

Williams, a wildcard into the draw, began with a 6-1, 2-0 lead over Halep. But the Romanian fought back to take the second set in a tie breaker and even led 4-2 in the decider.

Then it was Venus’ turn to fight back as she ended up winning the marathon match 6-1 4-6 7-6.

“On the last match point I went for it – I wanted to leave it all out there on the court,” Williams told the press later. “In the second set she got back in it and played amazing. I have to give her credit for that, and I’m glad to pull the victory out today.

“A match like that can be good. We hit a lot of balls and I was able to get that clay court mentality right away. I have to keep remembering I’m on clay.”

US Open champion and clay court specialist Sam Stosur was also stretched to the limit beating Croat Petra Martic 7-5 -46 7-6. “Petra was playing really well, and it really went down to the wire today,” Stosur commented in her post match interview. “I thought my level got better and better as the match went on, and the last half of the third set was the best tennis we played. It was really tight, really close. I’m very, very pleased to get through that one.”

Reigning French Open champion Li Na beat Spanish wildcard Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco, 6-2 6-4 but no.7 seed Marion Bartoli led was beaten by Romanian Sorana Cirstea, 6-7 6-4 6-3.

No.10 seed Vera Zvonareva continued her dismal 2012 season as she lost to Petra Cetkovska, 6-2 6-2.

Rising German Mona Barthel defeated fellow German Julia Goerges, 6-4 6-1.

“I knew it would be tough today,” Barthel commented. “It’s not easy to play someone from your country. She has been playing really well this year. And she was in the semifinals here last year too. I was just trying to enjoy it today.

MUTUA MADRID OPEN
Madrid, Spain

Saturday, May 5, 2012 – Singles – First Round
(5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Petra Martic (CRO) 7-5 4-6 7-6(5)
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (7) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 6-7(6) 6-4 6-3
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. (WC) Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco (ESP) 6-2 6-4
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (10) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 6-2 6-2
Mona Barthel (GER) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-4 6-1
Christina McHale (USA) d. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 6-4 7-5
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 6-4 7-6(5)
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 6-1 4-6 7-6(6)
(WC) Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 6-7(2) 6-2 6-2

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