MADRID, Spain - A few days ago Madison Keys pulled off one of the biggest surprises of the tournament, out-hitting Li Na in the first round - but Anabel Medina Garrigues' clay court skills were just too much in the second round, as the Spanish veteran ended the American teenager's run, 76(3) 63.
Keys, a lucky loser in the draw, came out strong, winning the first two games and firing an ace to open the third game; but Medina Garrigues, a wildcard, began grinding out point after point from there, squeaking the 65-minute first set out in a tie-break and carrying that momentum into the second set in a big way, losing just six points en route to a 5-0 lead. She would close it out four games later.
"Keys is a young player who hits the ball with a lot of strength and has a very good serve, but I was ready for that," Medina Garrigues said. "I'm feeling the ball really well and I think my game is coming together again - the balls are bouncing off the courts a bit more than usual here, so I'm happy!"
Medina Garrigues is no slouch on clay. In fact, she has the most WTA clay court titles of anyone right now, with 10 - five in Palermo (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011), three in Strasbourg (2005, 2007 and 2008), one in Fès (2009) and one in Estoril (2011). Venus Williams is next on the list with nine.
The Spanish veteran was recently honored for the achievement by Guinness World Records.
"I was really happy when I heard about the Guinness World Records honor - it's something not many players have, so I hope I can keep building on my number of clay court titles!" she commented.
The No.1-seeded Williams was cruising in the first half of the match, 62 20, when Domínguez Lino broke back and hung tough on serve through 5-all in the second set; Williams finished fast though, holding at 15 for 6-5 then pouncing with a love break to close the Spanish wildcard out, 62 75.
"I made a lot of errors, but her game kind of forces you to make errors," Williams said afterwards. "I feel it went well. It was a good match for me, a really good clay court tennis match for me. Seeing as I have a few more tournaments coming up on clay, it was perfect to play a match like this, so I know that if I face another opponent like that I'll have that experience and I'll know how to play against them."
"I was playing well before Roland Garros, but things changed at Roland Garros," Williams recalled. "I was on this great winning streak and one of the favorites to win - probably the least favorite to lose in the first round. But it happens. I don't think too much about it at this point. Now I just think, 'Okay, I won another match.' What happened last year definitely keeps me level - I don't get excited or emotional, like I'm supposed to and have to win, like I'm the favorite to win. I don't think like that anymore."
The win was also Williams' 27th of the year, tying her with Sara Errani for WTA match win leader.
Williams Vs Domínguez Lino Video: Match Highlights