Madrid Sunday: Youth Vs Experience
Published May 03, 2014 12:13
Sunday, First Round
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #12) vs. Madison Keys (USA #44)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Twelve months ago at the La Caja Mágica, Madison Keys caused arguably the upset of the tournament when she knocked out Li Na in the opening round. She will have her work cut out repeating the feat this time around, though, after being paired with the high-flying Ana Ivanovic. Fresh from a runner-up finish in Stuttgart, the Serb is high on confidence and in the best form since her annus mirabilis of 2008.
Following a bright start Down Under, Keys has struggled for form of late but goes into her first meeting with Ivanovic hopeful of rediscovering that winning touch. "Obviously she's doing really well, she just did really well in Stuttgart so hopefully it will be a good match," Keys said. "I'll just do the best that I can and hopefully I'll have an upset like I did last year."
 Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. [Q] Belinda Bencic (SUI #98)
Head-to-head: first meeting
While it would be churlish to suggest Serena Williams' start to 2014 has been anything other than excellent - she has won two titles, after all - it has proven a struggle to quite match last year's super-human efforts. However, if there were any signs of fatigue during her shock defeat to Jana Cepelova in Charleston, she should arrive in Madrid refreshed and revitalized after nearly a month's rest.
The Spanish capital, where the altitude sees the ball fly a little faster through the air, has been a happy hunting ground for the American, who has picked up the title on her past two visits. In her opening match, she meets one of the WTA's brightest prospects, Belinda Bencic. At 17, Bencic is the youngest player in the draw, but despite her tender years has already picked up four Top 50 wins, with Sara Errani, Maria Kirilenko and Alizé Cornet among her conquests.
 Petra Kvitova (CZE #6) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU #27)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads 3-2
Three years ago, Petra Kvitova kick-started a silverware-laden second half of the season with victory in Madrid. This time around, she finds herself placed alongside Serena, Carla Suárez Navarro and Flavia Pennetta in a tricky-looking quarter of the draw, but before she can cast her eye further down the track she must first see off the mercurial Sorana Cirstea.
On her day, Cirstea has the shotmaking ability to compete with the very best, testified by her 13 victories over members of the Top 10. Further encouragement for the Romanian comes in the form of her two career wins over Kvitova, with the most recent of these coming last summer in Toronto.
Also on court...
Sandwiched between Serena and Ivanovic on Manolo Santana is Maria Sharapova's meeting with Klara Koukalova, while over on Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Flavia Pennetta takes on Lucie Safarova and Roberta Vinci meets Daniela Hantuchova.