WTA Madrid: Sabine Lisicki returns to winning ways, powers past Monica Puig
Sabine Lisicki hitting a backhand. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski

On a pleasantly warm Sunday afternoon in the Spanish capital, Germany's Sabine Lisicki returned to her winning ways with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig, consequently booking her place in the second round of the 2016 Mutua Madrid Open. With this victory, Lisicki will now meet Spanish number two Carla Suárez Navarro, who survived a stern test in the form of Timea Babos.

Lisicki Recovers from Early Deficit; Breaks Thrice to Take Opening Set

After trading a pair of breaks to open the match, it was Puig who appeared to be on the cusp for a third successive break, however Lisicki had other ideas. Using her record-breaking serve and thumping ground strokes, the German managed to hold for a 2-1 lead, saving a pair of break points in the process. Ultimately, that proved to be the turning point in the set as Lisicki began to find her groove, managing to better Puig in numerous exchanges from the back of the court. As a result, the former Wimbledon finalist would go on to break for a second time before consolidating the early advantage to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

With the advantage now firmly with the German number four, Lisicki continued to impress while things quickly turned sour for the Puerto Rican qualifier. A double fault gifting Lisicki the double break, and ultimately a chance to serve for the set. In the end, the 26-year-old proved she needed no second invitation, sealing the set 6-1 with a glorious backhand winner down the line.

Sabine Lisicki following through on a backhand. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski
Sabine Lisicki following through on a backhand. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski

Lisicki Wins Five Games in a Row from 1-3 Down; Secures Second Round Berth

After the first three games of the second set went with serve, it was Puig who drew first blood, and was finally beginning to work her way into the match. With some ruthless hitting, the qualifier broke to take a 3-1 lead. But much like in the opening set, the 22-year-old was unable to consolidate the break, and the set was soon back on serve. In a tense sixth game, both players had their chances, but it was Lisicki who was ultimately the more consistent, saving a pair of break points to regain parity at 3-all.

That game soon proved to be the turning point as Lisicki was soon beginning to pull away with the match. Thanks to a few untimely unforced errors from Puig, the German was able to create numerous break point opportunities, though it took her three tries before she could get over the line and take a 4-3 lead. Soon thereafter, the world number 52 consolidated the break to go a set and 5-3 clear of a berth in the second round. Despite an attempted fight back from Puig, it was a case of too little, too late for the qualifier. At the first time of asking, Lisicki made no mistake, sealing a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 victory and with it, a place in the second round against eighth seed Carla Suárez Navarro.