MADRID, Spain – Carla Suárez Navarro kept the Spanish flag flying high at the Mutua Madrid Open after taking out No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki in a tough three sets late Monday evening, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
“I think I played a really good match,” Suárez Navarro told wtatennis.com after the match. “With this type of player [like Caroline], if you let down a little bit she can come back really good.
“But in general it was a really good match for me. The crowd was really good, and when I play at home hearing the support is really important for me. I enjoyed the match today.”
Both players came through after grueling three-setters yesterday - with Wozniacki’s going over 3 hours – and the fatigue showed at the start of the match as the pair traded six breaks of serve in a row. After each held serve to stay level, it was Suárez Navarro who earned the decisive break to take the opening set.
Wozniacki played more aggressive in the second, taking advantage of a dip in the Spaniard’s form to notch a pair of breaks and send the match to three sets. But after trading breaks to start it all went the way of Suárez Navarro. The Spaniard employed her signature touch and variety to reel off five games in a row and score a spot in the round of 16.
“This match was really good for me to help give me more confidence,” Suárez Navarro said. “Caroline is playing really good this year, and she’s always tough no matter what, and even more in clay. And well, I think my third set today was amazing.
“When you’re coming back from injury you have to work hard and practice a little bit more, so this victory means a lot.”
Fellow Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena also scored a big three-set win, taking out the No.15 seed Barbora Strycova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
“Today I was a little bit less nervous [than yesterday],” Arruabarrena told press afterwards. “I already had a match under my belt which gave me confidence, the way I managed to win that match.
“Even though she was a set and a break up, it was more or less the same as the other day. I never stopped fighting. The crowd helped me quite a lot and I think I played pretty well.”
As a result, the Spanish wildcard is set to reach a new career high ranking next Monday, tentatively landing at World No.56.
“I think I'm in a good stretch right now. Instead of playing well, I was just competing well, which sometimes is more important. That's perhaps what I was missing during my career.”
Also in action, Kristina Mladenovic survived a scare against an inspired American to reach the round of 16 in Madrid. She recovered from an early break down to take the first set against Lauren Davis, but found herself down 4-0 in the second as Davis leveled the match.
The pair wrestled for momentum in the closely contested final set – which saw the pair trade breaks three times – before Mladenovic pulled away in the tiebreaker, winning 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(1).