It has always been a matter of frustration to me--how talented Bethanie Mattek-Sands is and how cursed her career has been by chronic injury. Fortunately, the WTA's anti-fashion (and I mean that in a good way) icon has made a big name for herself in doubles. But then, during her healthy periods, one sees how much potential she has in singles.
Like today, for instance. The 28-year-old American literally beat 2011 French Open champion Li Na at her own game, displaying the kind of aggression that makes her a joy to watch.
At first, the match appeared to go "as planned." Li won four straight games, but then Mattek-Sands won four right back, and the fight was on. Li took the first set 7-5, then both players had to deal with light rain, as well as rain delays. And the more the 6th seed lost her way, the more Mattek-Sands took it to her. The world number 67 won the last two sets 6-3, 6-2 and hit 32 winners. Up 5-1 in the third, Mattek-Sands faced a suddenly feisty Li and wound up having to serve for the match twice. A losing Li can be a dangerous Li, but her surge came too late this time.
Mattek-Sands will play Paula Ormachea in the third round. Ormachea defeated Yaroslava Shavedova in straight sets today.
Meanwhile, a still-cranky (and especially after the rain delay) Victoria Azarenka faced up-and-coming German Anika Beck, who generally appears fearless when she opposes higher-ranked players, and who generally makes those players work for the points. Today was no exception. Aazarenka won, 6-4, 6-3, but it wasn't pretty.
Jelena Jankovic beat Garbine Muguruza, and Marina Erakovic beat Dominika Cibulkova (what a terrible season she's having). Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic lost to Sam Stosur, but Frenchwoman Alize Cornet advanced to the third round with a win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens won their second round matches. There are four American women still in the draw.
Of note: Petra Kvitova hit 30 winners and won her match against Peng Shuai in straight sets.
There was a notable upset in first round doubles play. Irina-Camelia Begu and Magdalena Rybarikova defeated 6th seeds Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones. 2011 French Open champions Andrea Havackova and Lucie Hradecka advanced to the second round by defeating Alize Lim and Aravane Rezai.