Hradecka's Biggest Win, Errani's Streak Ends
Published May 09, 2012 12:00
MADRID, Spain - Just two weeks shy of her 27th birthday Lucie Hradecka scored the first Top 10 win of her career, stunning No.3 seed and defending champion Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
With huge serving and powerful, two-fisted blasts from both sides, the Czech qualifier shook off an early 2-0 hole and took complete control of the match, breaking her No.4-ranked countrywoman a total of five times to win, 64 63.
"This one was a little bit strange because we are good friends, and we were even laughing with each other on the way to the court," Hradecka said. "I knew if I played strong and concentrated on my serve I had a chance to win. We played at the end of last year in some club matches and I won, and also we've played a lot of sparring games from Fed Cup. We know each other's games pretty well."
Hradecka had three wins coming into the match - two in qualies, one in the main draw - but she said getting used to the new blue clay courts wasn't much of a factor. "I heard the clay courts here in Madrid were pretty fast anyway, so I'm not sure the blue color makes a difference, other than the appearance."
Hradecka's current ranking of No.105 might not tell the whole story. She is a four-time WTA finalist, three of those finals on clay, and she was ranked as high as No.41 in the world last summer. While her singles ranking has slipped, though, her doubles ranking is as strong as ever, a career-high No.8.
This was her breakthrough first Top 10 win, having gone 0-4 against the elite before this. The four previous losses were all close, two of them three-setters (against Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki last year) and the other two close two-setters (Sam Stosur last year and Vera Zvonareva this year).
Next up for Hradecka will be another surprise package in Ekaterina Makarova. The Russian left-hander was sharp on the big points - she went three-for-three on break points - to upset No.16-seeded compatriot Maria Kirilenko, 64 64.
Other winners as the second round came to a close were No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who snapped Sara Errani's 16-match clay court winning streak with a 65-minute, 60 61 rout, winning the first 11 games of the match before Errani finally got on the board; and Roberta Vinci, who had an even quicker day at the office, taking just 58 minutes to roll past Yanina Wickmayer, 61 62.
"I was playing my best," Radwanska said. "I was really ready for this match. She won three tournaments on clay so she's very good on this surface."
Radwanska has beaten Vinci in all three of their previous meetings. The first two meetings both went to three sets, but in their last meeting, on the clay courts of Rome two years ago, Radwanska cruised to a 61 60 victory.
Radwanska rose to a new career-high of No.3 this week. "I'm very happy to be No.3. I don't have many points to defend from clay courts from last year so I just hope to do better this time, and step by step hopefully I can also be No.1."