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Errani's Sweet Sixteen, Suárez Overcomes JJ

Sara Errani extended her clay court winning streak to 16 as the first round wrapped up.

Published May 07, 2012 12:00

Errani's Sweet Sixteen, Suárez Overcomes JJ
Sara Errani

MADRID, Spain - The four finalists from the Estoril-Budapest week all played their first round matches at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday - for two of them the good fortune continued, while two of them couldn't quite back it up.

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Sara Errani, who won her third straight clay court title in Budapest, had a tough but good day, grinding past Chanelle Scheepers, 46 62 63. She extended her clay court winning streak to 16 matches - the last time anyone won more clay court matches in a row came all the way back in the 2005-2006 seasons, when Justine Henin put together a staggering 27 wins in a row on the dirt.

"It has been a very good year for me," Errani said. "I'm feeling good on the court and to win 16 matches in a row on clay, I'm very happy for that. I'm hoping to continue like this. I hope to make another good match with Agnieszka."

World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska is up next. It will be a big ask for Errani to keep the winning streak going, given she is 0-26 against Top 10 players.

Kaia Kanepi, who won her second title of the season in Estoril, was not as fortunate, getting broken once per set to fall to Lucie Safarova, 64 64.

Last week's other two finalists, Budapest runner-up Elena Vesnina and Estoril runner-up Carla Suárez Navarro, also had mixed results. Vesnina lost to No.9 seed Serena Williams, 63 61 (read more about that here); Suárez Navarro won a two-hour, 47-minute thriller against No.15 seed Jelena Jankovic, 46 76(5) 64, her first win in five career meetings against the former World No.1.

"I played well in Estoril last week and at Barcelona a few weeks ago too, so I was feeling good here as well," Suárez Navarro said afterwards. "I knew it would be a very difficult match. I played a very complete game and kept going until the end, and I'm very happy right now. I really want to enjoy this victory."

Suárez Navarro reflected on her week in Estoril, where she may have come away without the title, but she did reach her third career WTA final there.

"It's true I lost two match points in the final, but the positive thing in Estoril was that I managed to be there in that final," the Spaniard said. "I got some hours on the court, I managed to win some matches, and I got to a better level in my game. Today I thought about that as I went into the match against Jelena. I wasn't thinking about being mentally and physically tired coming from Estoril.

"I had nothing to lose, and I did very well."

Other winners as the first round wrapped up were No.3 seed Petra Kvitova, Ekaterina Makarova and qualifiers Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova (who, incidentally, are one of the top doubles teams in the world right now).

Kvitova, who won this title a year ago, rolled past Marina Erakovic, 62 63.

"It was a good start to the tournament for me," Kvitova said. "I have nice memories from last year here, but I'm not really thinking that I'm defending champion, because every week is a new week for us. It's different playing on blue clay, but not that different really - it's still clay, and Madrid and Rome are going to be very good preparation for Roland Garros coming up."

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