Madrid: Defending champions Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal breezed into the third round of Madrid Open on Wednesday.
Serena broke Shuai Peng three times in a 6-2, 6-3 win that was her 14th straight victory on the clay of the Magic Box tennis centre, where the top-seeded American dominated her Chinese opponent by firing 11 aces.
Nadal, on the other hand, certainly fed his confidence with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Juan Monaco of Argentina, just what the top-seeded Spaniard needed after coming to the Spanish capital on his worst clay run in a decade.
Nadal, the greatest ever player on the red surface, failed to advance past the quarter finals of his last two clay tournaments.
“Each victory helps to raise your confidence,” Nadal said. “I started a little nervously in my movement. But I got better, and now I just have to prepare for tomorrow.”
Nadal’s hopes of winning a second clay event after his triumph in Rio de Janeiro this year were bolstered on Tuesday when Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka lost 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer withdrew for the birth of his second set of twins Leo and Lenny. Second-ranked Novak Djokovic was absent to injury.
In women’s doubles, fifth seeds Sania Mirza and Cara Black defeated Hao-Ching Chan and Chanelle Scheepers to progress to the quarter finals.
The Indo-Zimbabwean team defeated the Taipei-Protea pair 6-4, 6-1 in little over an hour in the second round contest of the claycourt tournament.
Sania and Cara, winner of the Portugal Open last week, raced to 4-1 lead but Chan and Scheepers reduced the margin to make it 3-4.
However, the Taipei-Chinese pair could not sustain the momentum as Sania and Cara proved too good for them.
Sania and Cara have moved to third place in the Race to Singapore, where the year-end finals will be played in November.