In a tight match where the winner only won three more points than her defeated opponent, Svetlana Kuznetsova got past a very tricky opponent in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open as she defeated Wang Qiang in straight sets after 1 hour and 30 minutes of play. This win sent her into the quarterfinals and is poised for a meeting with the winner of the match between Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard. This would be Kuznetsova’s first quarterfinal appearance of the clay court season, and just her fifth overall this year.
Kuznetsova steals the first set
Kuznetsova faced no issues at the start of the match as she managed to secure a comfortable service hold in the opening game, looking to carry the momentum from her win against Alison Riske two days ago. Wang proved that she could do better when she unexpectedly came up with a love service hold to provide a premonition that this could be a battle. The Chinese looked to be the better one on the court as she made the first breakthrough in the match, capitalizing on her third break point in the fifth game as she opened up a 3-2 lead.
However, some inconsistent serving proved to be costly as she immediately lost the advantage to the Russian, who started to step up her game. Starting to be more aggressive, Kuznetsova eventually broke serve at the eleventh hour as she overcame her unforced errors and several wobbly groundstrokes to convert her third set point, and prevailing over a tense Wang in the final game to clinch the first set 6-4 after 40 minutes.
Wang puts up a tough fight but falls in straight sets
Most thought that Wang would lose momentum and crumble after the loss of the first set, but she proved everyone wrong when she secured three consecutive solid love service holds at the start. Serving with great precision, Wang’s serves often paved the way for her to take the offense and disallow Kuznetsova from playing her normal game, forcing her to stay on the defense at times. The underdog also broke Kuznetsova’s serve after she benefitted from the inconsistent groundstrokes of the Top 10 player, taking a 4-2 lead in the second set as the Chinese managed to consolidate the break once this time round.
However, a lengthy eighth game of the set saw Wang throw that advantage away once again as she lost three straight games to go down a 4-5 deficit and see herself serving to stay in the match all of a sudden. Despite being able to extend the set into an 11th game, Wang was unable to hold her serve just at the crucial moment as her first serves abandoned her when it mattered after Kuznetsova took advantage of it and sealed the victory within exactly 90 minutes of play.