Madrid: The Usual Suspects

Surprise! The winners in the 2013 clay season’s first Masters and Premier Series event were Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Okay, so not much of a shocker…but there were at least three surprise early exits.

  • 2nd round – Grigor Dimitrov defeats Novak Djokovic
  • 2nd round – Ekaterina Makarova defeats Victoria Azarenka
  • 3rd round – Kei Nishikori defeats Roger Federer

Nole re-injured his ankle, and the long delay actually turned the crowd to Dimitrov’s favor. Turns out, that was too much for Djokovic to overcome. With the added exposure, we’ve now learned that Grigor’s “inspiring” girlfriend is actually finalist Maria Sharapova, as they were caught arm-in-arm walking the streets of Madrid. Vika’s wondering how Mariana Alves could still be umpiring after being penalized a point for a late match racket smash. And Roger…well, he’s had seven weeks off. Madrid is his first clay event of the year.

Serena won her 50th career title, with another route of top opponent Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4. Meanwhile, Rafa picked up his fifth trophy in seven finals this year with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Stan Wawrinka. Big-ups to Stan, though…after winning the Portugal Open title, he was a late arrival in Madrid. He had actually played 9-matches in 10-days when he took the court for the final against Nadal.

This week, all eyes are on Rome for another valuable week in points, and there have already been surprises. As of Tuesday, Caroline Wozniacki was ousted in the first round (again), Tommy Haas was defeated in the second-round by Mikhail Youzney and Milos Raonic was taken-down in the first by Philipp Kohlschreiber.

With a win in Rome, Nadal could surpass Ferrer for World #4. Roland Garros is less than two weeks away…