Madrid Tuesday: Chinese Showdown
Published May 05, 2014 12:12
MADRID, Spain - Two of the trailblazers of Chinese tennis will face off in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open in the form of Li Na against Zheng Jie. Also, fellow Serbians Ana Ivanovic and Bojana Jovanovski will have their maiden encounter.
Tuesday, Second Round
 Li Na (CHN #2) vs. Zheng Jie (CHN #60)
Head-to-head: Zheng leads 4-3
Among Zheng Jie's contributions to the Chinese tennis boom are being the first Chinese player to crack the Top 15 and being the first Chinese Grand Slam semifinalist. Li Na went beyond those feats in becoming the first Chinese WTA titlist and Grand Slam titlist and the first Chinese Top 5 player, among other accomplishments.
Zheng actually has an edge in her head-to-head with Li, though hasn't beaten her countrywoman since 2006 and hasn't won a set in their last three clashes. She is looking for her sixth Top 5 win.
Zheng snapped a five-match Madrid losing streak with her defeat of Mariana Duque-Mariño in the first round on Sunday, while Li shook off her first round loss to Madison Keys here last year by beating Kirsten Flipkens in her 2014 clay court debut on Monday for her 22nd win in 25 matches this year.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #12) vs. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB #40)
Head-to-Head: First meeting
Ana Ivanovic has been in good form as of late, reaching her first Premier-level final since 2009 at her last event in Stuttgart. Also, she has won 10 of her last 11 matches and her 24 match wins this season is tied for third-most on the WTA.
Both Ivanovic and fellow Belgrade, Serbia, native Bojana Jovanovski were impressive in the first round, with Ivanovic beating Madison Keys in straight sets and Jovanovski surrendering just two games against Karin Knapp. If Jovanovski upends her countrywoman, it will be her eighth Top 20 win. Whoever prevails will face yet another Serb, Jelena Jankovic, in the third round if she gets past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"I've been playing lots of Serbians lately, but I've never played Bojana before," Ivanovic said. "She gets a lot of balls back. I still have to focus on my game and talk to my coach about some tactics. Hopefully, it will be another good one."
 Maria Sharapova (RUS #9) vs. Christina McHale (USA #56)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-0
Maria Sharapova comes into this second round contest in superb form, having won 10 of her last 11 matches, including a win over Klara Koukalova in her opener that saw her drop just three games. And that's the same number of games she lost the last time she played Christina McHale also in the second round of Madrid last year. Sharapova's 83% WTA match win percentage on clay leads active players and her eight WTA titles on clay trails just Anabel Medina Garrigues and Serena Williams.
All that being said, McHale is no stranger to pulling off big upsets. She has five Top 10 wins under her belt, including over No.1 Caroline Wozniacki at Cincinnati in 2011 and over No.3 Petra Kvitova at Indian Wells in 2012. The American, who turns 22 on Sunday, reached her first WTA final at Acapulco earlier this year.
Also on court...
2011 Madrid champion Petra Kvitova looks for her fifth win in five meetings with Varvara Lepchenko, Sara Errani plays fellow clay court specialist Francesca Schiavone, and Sloane Stephens takes on Petra Cetkovska.
Read more details and stats about Tuesday's match-ups in our Match Notes.