Making the round of sixteen were No.8 seed Li Na and No.12 seed Angelique Kerber. Kerber was the first to advance, outsteadying former World No.1 Venus Williams, 64 61; Li beat Spanish wildcard Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 63 61. “I’m very happy I could beat Venus. She’s a great player, a great champion and has won so many Grand Slams,” Kerber said. “I played very well from the first point, so I’m very happy about it. It means a lot to me to win against her.” Kerber has had her breakthrough results on hardcourts, including her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open and her first two WTA titles at Paris and Copenhagen, but she feels comfortable on clay as well. “It doesn’t matter to me where I play – blue clay, red clay, hardcourts,” she said. “The blue clay is a little bit different though. It’s very slippery and the balls bounce a little bit higher, but I feel good on it, and I’m in the third round now. I hope to continue like this.”
Li leads Kerber in their head-to-head series, 3-1, although Kerber’s win did come in their last meeting, their only 2012 meeting, at Indian Wells.
Samantha Stosur survived another midnight encounter to reach the third round of the Madrid Masters with a tough three-set win over American teenager Christina McHale. The Australian fifth seed struggled with her serve in the first two sets and was broken twice in each, but found her range in the decider to claim a 2-6 6-4 6-0 victory in just under two hours. The fifth-seeded Stosur, accustomed to late finishes after her series of midnight epics at last year’s US Open, came alive when she really needed it, reeling off eight straight games to finish McHale off. “I knew it was going to be a late day, but I certainly didn’t think we would start at 10 o’clock and finish up at midnight,” Stosur said.