Lepchenko's Best Win, Vinci Serves Up Storm
Published May 06, 2012 12:00
MADRID, Spain - Roberta Vinci and Varvara Lepchenko both sprung upsets over Top 20 players at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday afternoon, with one of them serving up a storm and the other scoring the very best win of her career.
Vinci beat No.14 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 63 62, blasting an impressive 16 aces in the process - including seven in the first game of the second set.
"No," Vinci replied when asked if she had ever hit that many aces in a match before. "I wasn't doing anything special - I was just serving so well, so fast. I played great and won against a great player today, so I'm very happy right now.
"I really like this tournament. I'm just taking it step by step and I'm looking forward to my second round match and playing doubles with Sara this week."
Lepchenko, a qualifier this week, took out No.11 seed Francesca Schiavone in a two-hour, 44-minute marathon, 64 67(8) 63, missing out on two match points in the second set tie-break and rallying from a break down in the third.
"It had been a long time since we last played, I think I was only 16 or 17, so I didn't really know what to expect today," Lepchenko said. "But when we played back then it was three sets and I was inexperienced and didn't know much, and now I'm playing a lot better, so I was a lot more confident going into the match.
"I knew my potential today. I just needed to close it out."
Lepchenko's win over the No.11-ranked Schiavone was her third and biggest Top 20 win, having recorded wins over then-No.18 Patty Schnyder (at Ponte Vedra Beach in 2009) and then-No.19 Flavia Pennetta (at the French Open last year). Her three Top 20 wins are all on clay - but all different colors of clay.
The other three players in the No.11-20 range in action all won in straights, with No.12 seed Angelique Kerber beating Johanna Larsson, 61 64; No.13 seed Ana Ivanovic needing seven set points to close out the first set but eventually rolling past qualifier Mathilde Johansson, 64 61; and No.16 seed Maria Kirilenko defying a 2-5 head-to-head to take down Zheng Jie, 62 75.
Kerber will play Venus Williams in the second round. Williams won their only other meeting back in 2009, although the circumstances are far different now - back then Williams was ranked No.6 in the world and Kerber was No.100, now Kerber is ranked No.14 in the world and Williams is No.70.
"I have nothing to lose against Venus tomorrow," Kerber said of the Monday center court match-up. "I will just try my best and we'll see what happens."