MADRID: Serena Williams staged a recovery at the expense of Caroline Wozniacki as the American reached the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win in the battle of former number-one players.
The comeback win in one hour and 42 minutes put Williams into a showdown with second-seed Maria Sharapova, who earned her last-eight place when opponent Lucie Safarova withdrew before their match with stomach illness.
Williams, the ninth seed, came back from a set down to hit a blistering 43 winners past the Dane to reach the last-eight in the Spanish capital for the first time with her 10th straight victory on clay this season.
With the sliding roof open over the sun-drenched Manolo Santana centre court, Wozniacki saved a first match point with a fizzing cross-court shot, but was helpless at the second as the American wrong-footed her with another powerful drive.
In the men’s third round on the blue clay of the Caja Magica, Czech sixth-seed Tomas Berdych ended the injury comeback effort of Frenchman Gael Monfils, the number 12, with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-1 victory. Roger Federer sweated out a tough win in his first match, holding off Canada’s Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 7-6.
“I was trying to weather the storm,” said the Swiss. “I don’t know where my game is at now and I don’t care. I’m happy to train well and be playing some matches.”
Second-seed Rafa Nadal spent 80 minutes in winning his first match against Nikolay Davydenko since 2009, earning a 6-2, 6-2 victory. Fifth-seed Ferrer dismissed Czech Radek Stepanek 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.