Madrid Saturday: Errani Plays Petkovic
Published May 02, 2014 12:12
Saturday, First Round
 Sara Errani (ITA #11) vs. Andrea Petkovic (GER #28)
Head-to-head: Petkovic leads 1-0
Though former French Open runner-up Sara Errani is the on-paper favorite against Andrea Petkovic, the German is in superior form as of late. She followed up her biggest WTA title to date in Charleston, where she scored three Top 30 wins, with an impressive defeat of Samantha Stosur to help Germany win its Fed Cup semifinal tie against Australia. And though she did lose her opener in Stuttgart, she should still be riding high, as she recently re-entered the Top 30 after a couple of injury-plagued years had sent her ranking tumbling. She has won five of her seven Top 20 matches so far this year.
Errani lost early in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami, but then seemed to find her form when returning to her beloved clay, reaching the quarterfinals in Charleston and the semifinals in Stuttgart. The Italian had her best Madrid outing last year in making the semifinals and comes into this year's staging with 115 WTA clay court wins under her belt, eighth-best among active players.
Interestingly enough, Errani and Petkovic's one previous clash came in Madrid four years ago, with Petkovic coming out on top in a tight three-setter in the first round.
Christina McHale (USA #57) vs. Lauren Davis (USA #68)
Head-to-head: Tied 1-1
A match-up of promising young Americans will see 21-year-old Christina McHale square off with 20-year-old Lauren Davis, the second-youngest American in the Top 100 after 19-year-old Madison Keys.
Former World No.24 McHale reached her first WTA final at Acapulco earlier this year, though she could use a boost of confidence after having lost three of four matches coming into Madrid. Davis also made news this season when she upset World No.4 Victoria Azarenka for her best win to date en route to a fourth round showing at Indian Wells. She also was a quarterfinalist at her 2014 debut in Auckland.
Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP #37) vs. [WC] Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP #116)
Head-to-head: Tied 1-1
Garbiñe Muguruza's breakout season has seen her capture her first WTA title in Hobart, beat former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki for her third Top 10 win en route to her first Grand Slam fourth round at the Australian Open and make another WTA final in Florianopolis. Though she lost early in Indian Wells, Miami and Monterrey, the 20-year-old rediscovered her form with a semifinal run at her last event in Marrakech.
"It had been a year since I last played on clay and I had the chance to play a week ago in a clay tournament and it went well," Muguruza said. "I feel very ready. I always come to this tournament very happy because it is at home. It's a very special tournament, as there aren't many in Spain.
Though she has yet to go beyond the second round of a WTA event this year, Sílvia Soler-Espinosa is at her best on clay, as her four deepest WTA runs all occurred on the dirt. She was a semifinalist at Acapulco in 2013 and a quarterfinalist at Estoril in 2012 and Marrakech and Palermo in 2013.