Madrid, Spain – World No. 1 and 2011 runner-up Victoria Azarenka secured a berth in the quarterfinals, while defending champion Petra Kvitova was a stunning second-round upset victim Wednesday at the $5.190 million Madrid Open, a clay-court French Open tuneup.
The Australian Open champion Azarenka improved to a stellar 32-2 this year by holding off 13th-seeded former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4. The match was over in 1 hour, 26 minutes, as the Belarusian tallied twice as many service breaks (4-2) en route to victory.
Azarenka, who lost to Kvitova in last year's marquee Madrid finale, will be opposed by eighth-seeded Chinese Li Na here on Friday.
The third-seeded Wimbledon titlist Kvitova was ousted by qualifier and fellow Czech Lucie Hradecka in eye-popping 6-3, 6-2 fashion on the unusual blue clay at The Magic Box. Hradecka tallied three more service breaks (5-2) than the sluggish lefthanded Kvitova to advance.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded world No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland avoided a second-round upset by leveling last week's Budapest champion and three-time 2012 WTA winner Sara Errani, of Italy, 6-0, 6-1, in a mere 65 minutes on Day 5.
Two of last year's Grand Slam champions prevailed in third-round action, as No. 5 seed Samantha Stosur of Australia whipped Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-3, 6-2 and the aforementioned Li got past 12th-seeded rising German Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4. Stosur was last year's U.S. Open winner, while Li is the reigning French Open champ.
In some other second-round play, Ekaterina Makarova upended 16th-seeded fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-4 and quality Italian clay-courter Roberta Vinci routed Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-2.
In some more third-round play on Thursday, second-seeded former No. 1 Maria Sharapova will take on Czech Lucie Safarova, Radwanska will battle Vinci and sixth-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki should have her hands full with her ninth-seeded fellow former No. 1 Serena Williams, the 13-time major champion and 2011 U.S. Open runner-up to Stosur. Wozniacki was the Madrid runner-up in 2009.
Williams is 3-1 lifetime against Wozniacki, all on hardcourts, but the Dane's lone win came earlier this year in a quarterfinal in Miami.
This year's Madrid Open winner will earn $830,500.