Maria Sharapova avoided an early exit from the Madrid Open on Tuesday, rallying to beat Christina McHale to reach the third round while Roger Federer withdrew from the men’s event.
Trailing 4-1 in the final set, Sharapova steadied her erratic service game and took command again to beat the 56th-ranked American 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 on clay at the Magic Box tennis center.
Earlier, Li Na continued her recent dominance of Zheng Jie by easing into the third round 6-2, 6-3.
Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic also advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, while American Sloane Stephens was also a winner. Federer pulled out of the Masters Series event to spend more time with his family as his wife awaits the birth of another child.
David Ferrer struggled through Madrid’s high altitude and a bout of nerves to pull out a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-3 victory over Spanish countryman Albert Ramos.
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Ferrer saved four set points as he won five straight points to take the first set tiebreak, clinching the lead with a crosscourt forehand smash.
After being broken to trail 6-5 in the second set, Ferrer reeled off four straight errors for his 115th-ranked opponent to even it before eventually pulling through in just under three hours.
Fabio Fognini’s recent struggles on Spanish clay continued as the 13th-seeded Italian lost 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. Fognini failed to get out of the second round at Barcelona last month.
Nicolas Almagro will play Andy Murray next after finally dispensing with Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (4) with his 11th match point.