Both Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard survived three sets to come through to the third round – they’ll face each other on Wednesday in the Mutua Madrid Open.
(1) Angelique Kerber (No.2) vs Eugenie Bouchard (No.60)
Overview: Maria Sharapova vs Eugenie Bouchard was a match that everyone wanted a look at the handshake. After a week or so Bouchard called Sharapova a cheater, the pair met in a mouthwatering clash in Madrid on Monday. (Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to catch it live because I could only watch matches in the day session!) Even though most were expecting Sharapova to come through in a comfortable two-setter, the quality was brilliant – in fact the handshake and the drama was an absolute letdown!
After a brilliant two sets from both players – Bouchard won the first then Sharapova came back in the second, the Canadian was the won that drew first blood in the decider at 3-3. Bouchard certaintly had felt some nerves when serving for the match, she had to save two break points before coming up with a brilliant cross court forehand to seal the match.
So is Bouchard back to her 2014 season form? There were glimpses of that, but it’s certaintly too early to say so – first we’ll have to see how she performs against soon to be World No.1 Angelique Kerber in her upcoming match. (That stare though…)
Angelique Kerber also survived a three-setter against Katerina Siniakova, but it was a scare then anything else – Kerber played brilliantly in the first set but was pegged back by a frustrated Siniakova, winning six straight games to send the match into a decider. The third set was pretty dramatic then anything else, Siniakova missed a couple of break opportunites in the early service games – but managed to secure a vital break at 3-3. Both players seemed really annoyed with themselves, especially Siniakova (who was practically scolding herself for every point she lost!) The really tight Czech let loose while serving for the match — balls were being. left short and made a couple of errors.
She was just two points away from winning but Kerber showed her grit and fight, winning the next three games to book a ticket into round 3.
Head to head: Suprisingly, Bouchard leads the head to head 3-2 – and has won both matches on clay against Kerber. The most recent encounter was in the Rio Olympics, where Kerber won 6-4 6-2.
Random stat (I’ll do this if I can find special stats): Both players were coming into Madrid with losing streaks in the Caja Magica – Bouchard had not won a match in three previous attempts in the Spanish capital while Kerber also lost her last three matches here, but had made the quarterfinals in 2013 once.
Thoughts: I’m giving the slight edge to Kerber in this one. Bouchard can be really erratic at times (she made the semifinals in Sydney this year, then lost five straight matches on the WTA tour) What Bouchard needs to do is attack the vulnerable Kerber second serve and get more balls into the court often then not. Kerber also really needs to up the level of her aggression – she was so defensive in the second and third sets it was really diffciult to watch her! I’ll go for a Kerber escape.
Prediction: Kerber to defeat Bouchard in three