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Serena, Sharapova cruise into semis – Federer falls under Kyrgios spell in Madrid exit

SerenaMADRID: Serena Williams extended her unbeaten record this season to 24-0 as she swept aside Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6- 1, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Madrid Open yesterday. Williams had to save three match points in overcoming two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday, but had no such trouble as she maintained her record of never having dropped a set against Navarro in their six meetings. The 19-time Grand Slam champion will face either fourth seed Petra Kvitova or Irina-Camelia Begu in tomorrow’s semifinals. Defending champion Maria Sharapova also reached the last four for a third consecutive year with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Caroline Wozniacki. The Russian showed no ill effects early on from her marathon win over Caroline Garcia on Wednesday as she raced through the first set. Sharapova broke again in the first game of the second set, but a host of errors handed the momentum back to the world number five and Wozniacki served out to take the match into a deciding set. The third set followed a similar pattern, except this time it was Wozniacki who failed to build on an early break as Sharapova’s power from the baseline proved too much for the Dane. And after breaking in the penultimate game, Sharapova rounded off victory in just over two hours on court to set up a semi-final meeting with either Lucie Safarova or Svetlana Kuznetsova. On the men’s side Thomas Berdych continued his impressive start to the clay court season as he marched into the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dmitrov also reached the last eight just as in the Monte Carlo Masters last month he disposed of Stanislas Wawrinka in the last-16 7-5 (7/5), 3-6, 6-3.

Federer falls
Meanwhile, Roger Federer became the latest big name to get sucked up by a whirlwind called Nick Kyrgios as the Australian tyro sent the Swiss top seed spinning out of the Madrid Masters in the second round on Wednesday. Ten months after the then 144th-ranked Kyrgios overwhelmed Rafa Nadal in the Wimbledon fourth round with a fearless brand of tennis, the Australian showed that he is a force to be reckoned with on clay too. Now ranked 35th on the back of contesting his first ever ATP final in Estoril last weekend, Kyrgios brought an abrupt end to Federer’s hopes of winning a fourth Madrid trophy with a heart-pumping 6-7(2) 7-6(5) 7-6(12) victory. “I think he’s the greatest of all time... I knew before the match that I would have to play one of the greatest matches I have ever played, I wasn’t intimidated at all,” the remarkably composed 20-year-old said courtside following his victory in two hours 37 minutes. “It doesn’t really feel real at the moment. It’s a strange feeling... it’s pretty exciting.” While Kyrgios was celebrating what he called “definitely the greatest win of my career”, Federer was condemned to his earliest exit in 11 visits to Madrid. On the day he had hoped to celebrate the first birthday of his twin boys Lenny and Leo with a routine victory, the world number two was first rankled when Kyrgios broke him in the opening game of the match. The irritation went up a few notches as he was heard snapping “We need a clown for this circus” when the second set slipped away from his grasp under a barrage of aces and crunching baseline winners. Facing an opponent who was just eight when he won the first of his record 17 grand slam titles in 2003, Federer wasted two match points in the tension-filled third set tiebreak. Instead Kyrgios was the one holding his arms aloft in victory after he wrapped up the contest on his sixth match point when Federer slammed a forehand wide. Following a disappointing season in which he has claimed only one low-key title, Nadal went back to using his old racket model to record a 6-4 6-3 win over American Steve Johnson. He was joined in the third round by Tomas Berdych and 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov but US Open champion Marin Cilic followed Federer out of the exit door after a 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 6-3 defeat by Fernando Verdasco. Kei Nishikori also progressed with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory over Belgian David Goffin, while second seed Andy Murray rounded out the day’s action with a 6-4 3-6 6-0 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber. — Agencies

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This article was published on 08/05/2015