Madrid Wednesday: Vika Eyes Last 16 Spot
Published May 07, 2013 07:28
MADRID, Spain - Nine times Ekaterina Makarova has taken on a player inside the Top 3 and on all nine occasions she has come off second best. On Wednesday she attempts to finally break her duck against two-time Madrid runner-up Victoria Azarenka.
Wednesday, Second Round
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #3) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS #24)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 3-1
After narrowly dispatching one dangerous Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, in the opening round, Victoria Azarenka takes on another on Wednesday afternoon. Victory over Pavlyuchenkova stretched her unbeaten start to the season to 18 matches, yet despite her unblemished record, question marks surround Azarenka, or, more precisely, her fitness.
An ankle injury has sidelined the Belarusian for much of the past two months and she was still brushing away the cobwebs against Pavlyuchenkova. Makarova has the power to get the World No.3 on the move, and the temperament - she has six Top 10 wins - to close out the match. However, none of these six have come against members of the Top 3, and she will need a flawless performance against Azarenka - who has won 62 of her last 63 matches against players outside the Top 20 - to alter this statistic.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #16) vs. Laura Robson (GBR #41)
Head-to-head: Ivanovic leads 1-0
On Monday, Laura Robson snapped out of the three-month slumber that has afflicted her game, to defeat World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska in two one-sided sets. It was just the young Brit's fourth win since the end of January and a timely reminder of the talent that made the tennis world sit up and take notice at last year's US Open.
And she will need to maintain that level if she is to follow this upset with another, over former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic. In Stuttgart, Ivanovic pushed eventual champion Maria Sharapova to the very limit and looked in similarly good nick whilst swatting aside Chanelle Scheepers in the second round. Both players possess point-ending power from the baseline and the match is likely to hinge on whose first strike policy, particularly on the forehand, clicks into gear first.
 Angelique Kerber (GER #6) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #40)
Head-to-head: tied 1-1
Since returning from a knee injury at the start of the year, Svetlana Kuznetsova has not taken long to get her groove back. Her two wins in Madrid - over Zheng Jie and Nadia Petrova - took her total for the season to 22, with five of these coming against members of the Top 20.
She gets the chance to make it six on Wednesday against a resurgent Angelique Kerber. Following an inconsistent start, Kerber's season has really clicked into gear over the past month or so, with semifinal appearances in Indian Wells and Stuttgart punctuated by a runner-up finish in Monterrey. The players have split their only two encounters, the most recent, in the Sydney quarterfinals this January, going to the German's way in two tight sets.
Also on court…
Former champion Petra Kvitova continues her challenge against Daniela Hantuchova on Stadium 3, while Maria Kirilenko, Julia Goerges and Carla Suárez Navarro are also in action around the grounds.