Sorana Cirstea defeated Danka Kovinić 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of Madrid. The Romanian recorded her second win of the year over the Montenegrin, having previously defeated Kovinic in Rio De Janeiro. This is her farthest progression since that semifinal run in Brazil.
Cirstea races out to huge lead, hangs on to win first set
Given a wild card into the main draw here, Cirstea made the most of it, knocking out Jelena Janković In the first round. Against Kovinić, she blasted out of the starting blocks, winning the first five games of the match. At 3-0, she earned her second break of the match when Kovinić missed a forehand into the net and the break was consolidated when Cirstea held to love, Kovinić missing a backhand well wide.
The Montenegrin has been playing well of late and she would go on a mini-run to make Cirstea's task of closing out the set more difficult. The first of three straight games was delivered with an ace, the second with a Cirstea double-fault to get one of the breaks back and the third a looping forehand dropping just inside the line in the corner after saving two set points. Cirstea isn't known for stability in the big moments, but she closed out the set to love when Kovinić slapped a forehand wide again to close out the opening frame 6-3.
Cirstea wins up-and-down second set, advances to third round
Cirstea beat Kovinić on her way to the semifinals of Rio De Janeiro and at 1-all, the Romanian was handed the early upper hand, Kovinić dumping serve with a double-fault on break point. Kovinić reached the finals of Istanbul two weeks ago and at 2-3 down, she made her move, getting the set back on serve when Cirstea sprayed a backhand wide.
The set would stay this way until 4-all, when Cirstea struck what appeared to be the decisive blow, breaking with a pelting forehand cross-court to go up 5-4. Now serving for the match, she would wobble, her forehand badly missing the mark after being pinned into the corner by Kovinić's previous shot. Unfazed by her inability to close out the match, she broke straightaway when Kovinić double-faulted, Cirstea now up 6-5 with a second chance to close the match out. After falling behind 0-30 to open her service game, Cirstea won the next four points, the clincher on a wild Kovinić forehand miss to seal the match and book her place in the third round.
Siegemund up next
Cirstea faces a stiff challenge in round three, squaring off with in-form German Laura Siegemund, who reached the finals of Stuttgart two weeks ago. This is their first career meeting.