Fernando Gonzalez d. Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (13-11), 7-5
The first set was probably the biggest choke I've ever witnessed. Almagro squandered not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, but eight set points; one with Fernando serving at 4-5 in the first and then the next seven in the tiebreaker. Fernando played most of the points pretty well, but Almagro beat himself in at least six of the eight set points. Three came off the forehand side while going for winners, including an extremely easy one during the 4-5 game. Surprisingly, Almagro did not totally fold in the second set, but hung in there until Gonzo brought down the inevitable in the Spaniard and prevailed 7-5. It's a key win for Gonzo, who is right in the thick of things for making it to Shanghai. In this same situation last year, he choked beyond belief, so today was an absolutely critical day for the Chilean.
Guillermo Canas over Agustin Calleri 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Calleri led this one 5-3 in the third and then blew it. Granted just one break is never safe against Canas and Canas is one guy who is never out of a match until the last point is over, but still this has to be a tough one to swallow for Calleri. It's not a tough result for fans to swallow, though. Who would want to see a Federer-Calleri matchup when we could all see Federer-Canas III? I assume nobody. Canas beat Federer at Indian Wells in March and then stunned him again 7-6 in the third in Miami two weeks later. The Argentine was playing much better tennis in the Spring, but still this should be fun to watch. I'll take Federer in straights, but you can always count on Willy to put up a heck of a fight.
Canas/Nalbandian d. Hanley/Ullyett 6-3, 6-1
There are so many singles players in the doubles draw this week and a lot of intriguing pairings, so I thought there were would be a few "upsets" in doubles in Madrid, but this is not one I was anticipating, and especially not by such a convincing margin. I am seriously at a loss to even consider how this happened. I guess the Argentines returns of serve must have been consistently on fire, and Hanley and Ullyett must have played horribly in addition to that to get broken four times (and not have had even one break point opportunity!). Heck I questioned whether even Canas and Nalbandian would stay in the doubles since they are both through to the third round in singles. Well, good week for both of 'em!