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Tennis

Nick Kyrgios shines while women’s seeds exit in Madrid

Enrique de la Fuente/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire
Enrique de la Fuente/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire

Wednesday couldn’t quite match the insanity of Tuesday in Madrid, but it was still pretty wild. Here’s where the tournament stands midway through the week:

— Nick Kyrgios played a very mature match in his latest meeting with Stan Wawrinka, eliminating the defending French Open champion, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2). Kyrgios didn’t generate any break points, but he was the more dangerous player, and that’s saying something when Wawrinka’s the player standing across the net. Another early loss for Wawrinka leaves the door open for Rafael Nadal to steal the critical fourth spot in the ranks from him before Paris.

— Tennis fans had to be elated at the thought of Kyrgios facing Gael Monfils, but the Frenchman lost a thriller to clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4). The match maintained its very high level of quality despite being forced to be moved to an adjacent court after the lights went out in the third set.

— The lighting failure created a schedule clog, forcing the highly anticipated Juan Martin del Potro/Jack Sock match to a court without TV cameras. Per reporters at the tournament, the match turned somewhat contentious between the two irritable players. Sock prevailed, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

— Novak Djokovic shook off his surprising loss in Monte Carlo by handily beating the prospect so many have compared to him, Borna Coric, to the tune of 6-2, 6-4. Though Coric’s serve has amped up after a racquet switch, his groundstrokes aren’t solid enough yet for someone who grinds from the back of the court and lacks the ability to consistently end points with winners.

— Victoria Azarenka confirmed suspicions of injury, withdrawing from her match with American up-and-comer Louisa Chirico. Azarenka cited a back injury, though the issue in her first two matches appeared to be more foot-related. Either way, being safe is the right call, given how injuries sabotaged her 2014 and 2015 seasons. She said she will undergo testing and hopes to be ready for Rome next week.

— Her exit, combined with Petra Kvitova’s ab injury (which affected her in a loss to Dasha Gavrilova) and Carla Suarez-Navarro finally wearing out due to a draining illness of some sort, means the women’s draw is bereft of seeds by the quarterfinals, save for Simona Halep.

— Halep is the heavy favorite now, and is stunningly joined by three fellow Romanians in the quarters, including Sorana Cirstea, who’s making an impact after a lengthy layoff due to injuries. Once a top-25 player, the 26-year-old will now be back in the top 100. She’ll face the new favorite in the top half of the draw, Dominika Cibulkova (seen above), who is making a successful comeback of her own.

— Fabio Fognini served for the match against Kei Nishikori, but couldn’t close it out. Aided by a point penalty against Fognini for ball abuse, Nishikori broke twice to win, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

— Thursday features a loaded slate with all of the top remaining men: Nadal vs Sam Querrey, Djokovic vs Roberto Bautista Agut, Andy Murray vs Gilles Simon, Nishikori vs Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych vs David Ferrer.



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