The Madrid Open isn't a Grand Slam event, but there were still a good number of attention grabbing events. From tension amongst players to monumental upsets; this week in Spain has seemingly had it all.
Take a look at three of the hottest stories on and off the clay
Serena and Sloane Squash the Beef
There was plenty of action on the court, but some off-the-court drama grabbed a few headlines as well. Future Hall of Famer and all-time great Serena Williams was the target of a few darts from up-and-coming star, Sloane Stephens.
Sports Illustrated reported that Stephens told ESPN the Magazine's Marin Cogan:
She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia. And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.
Like, seriously! People should know. They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that—no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?
Thankfully, the two women have spoken and cleared the air. Sloane tweeted:
Sloane Stephens @SloaneStephens
Guilty of being naive. Much respect 4 @serenawilliams , a champ & the GOAT. We spoke, we're good. ONWARD! #lifelessons2013-5-7 18:03:00
It was really a shame to see their relationship potentially fall apart. I give props to both women for hammering out their differences and not dragging this thing out in the public any further.
Serena has taken things in stride. She has cruised to the quarterfinals where she is set to face Maria Kirilenko. Stephens was eliminated in her opening match by Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3, 7-5.
Djokovic was bested by Gregor Dimitrov 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (8-10) 6-3. The 21-year-old Bulgarian who came in ranked 28th in the world picked up the biggest win of his career.
How much should we make of Djokovic's loss heading into the French Open? It all depends on the stability of his injured ankle.
He received treatment for it during the match with Dimitrov. If it is an issue that lingers, it could be the reason Djokovic doesn't make it back to the finals at Roland Garros.
Ekaterina Makarova defeated Azarenka 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to halt Azarenka's 18-match win streak. Azarenka had another one of her signature meltdowns, which signaled her undoing.
Victoria Azarenka breaks racket and loses her cool at Madrid Open 2013 @kirivechkin http://t.co/lBkbww4EjT2013-5-8 17:51:51
While this was certainly an upset, it wasn't as surprising as Djokovic's loss.
Makarova had beaten Azarenka in 2010, though she had lost three in a row to the Belarusian since. This shouldn't affect Azarenka heading into the French Open.
Ekaterina Makarova reels off 5 straight games to upset World No.3 Vika Azarenka 16 62 63 in @MutuaMadridOpen 2R. #WTA http://t.co/H9VbfqTNJ12013-5-8 12:31:18
In fact, it may help alleviate the pressure of carrying a streak into a Grand Slam tournament.
Rafa Looks Sharp
Rafael Nadal, the reigning king of the clay courts was on point after a bye landed him in the round of 16. He easily dispatched Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-4.
With injuries dogging Rafa over the last two years, the crowd at Caja Magica was thrilled to see him compete in person.
As he gears up for a run at his eighth French Open title, Nadal looks to be in good form. This was just one match, but all signs point to Nadal playing a major factor in deciding who hoists the trophy at Roland Garros later this month.
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