End of the road for holder Kvitova

End of the road for holder Kvitova

Czech player goes down to compatriot Hradecka in second round tie

 Defending champion Petra Kvitova crashed out of the Madrid Open when she was upset by Czech compatriot Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-3 in the second round on Wednesday.

The world number four and seeded third this year, Kvitova used her 2011 success at the premier clay event in the Spanish capital as a springboard for a first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon and went on to triumph at the season-ending WTA championships.

The graceful left hander has yet to win a title this year, however, after claiming six last season, and had her serve broken five times by Hradecka, ranked 105th in the world.

There were no such problems for Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who leap-frogged Kvitova to number three in the latest rankings, in her second-round match against Sara Errani. Radwanska snapped Errani’s 16-match winning streak on clay, which netted her titles in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest, with a dominant performance, crushing the Italian 6-0, 6-1 to set up a third-round meeting with another Italian, Roberta Vinci.

Meanwhile, American eighth seed John Isner was pipped 7-6, 7-6 in the second round by fellow big-serving giant Marin Cilic.

Unseeded Croat Cilic produced when it counted in the tiebreaks on the blue clay at the Magic Box arena, winning the first 7-4 and the second 7-3 to set up a meeting with former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro or Mikhail Youzhny.

Neither player managed to break the other's serve as Cilic followed up his five-set victory over Isner at last year’s Australian Open, their only previous meeting, with another narrow success.

Isner refused to blame the reverse on the blue clay, a controversial innovation at this year's edition of the Masters event that has prompted harsh criticism from a list of players.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who is chasing a third straight clay title of the season, gets his campaign under way later on Wednesday with a second-round clash against former world number three Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.

Current number three Roger Federer then plays fast-rising Canadian Milos Raonic, who took a set off the Swiss maestro at the Indian Wells Masters in March. Djokovic will meet unseeded Stanislas Wawrinka, in the third round on Thursday.

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