MADRID, May 4, 2016
Six top 10-players were in action on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, highlighted by the return of world number one Novak Djokovic.
The 2011 Madrid champion has not appeared in the Magix Box since losing to Grigor Dimitrov in his opening match three years ago but celebrated a successful comeback. Djokovic beat Next Generation star Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in the pair’s first tour meeting. The 28-year-old from Belgrade saved the only break point he faced, converting three of his own to advance after one hour and 18 minutes. He improves to 29-2 this season.
“I honestly missed playing here. I didn’t come last two years for certain reasons that were related to the scheduling and the injury that I had, but it had nothing to do with the crowd. I mean, I always had lots of fun playing here,” Djokovic told afterwards.
“When I arrived in Madrid on Friday and had a center court practice, I really had a wonderful welcoming from the people in the organization of this tournament and the people in the stands watching the practice.
I thought it was a great match to be part of. I thought the crowd was entertained. It was only the second match on clay court this season for me. First one didn’t go so well for me in Monte-Carlo. I had some time to recuperate, emotionally and mentally. I needed that more than physically because it has been a very successful but very demanding start of the season. I played a lot of matches. So I thought it happened for a reason for me to have a little bit more time off. I came in here earlier and had plenty of good practice sessions with the best players. I thought that I performed very solid in opening round. Few things could have been better. But, again, overall was a satisfying performance”
Djokovic will face 15th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut next, who emerged victorious from the all-Spaniah-affair with Feliciano López 6-3, 5-7, 7-5. The world number 17 from Castellón won 79% of his first service points and capitalized on two of his five break point opportunities to prevail in two hours and 27 minutes.
“Of course it’s clear that I had my opportunities. I think at the end the third set I had a break point. It was a very hard-fought point where I had my chances,” López was dissapointed.
“So in these matches, playing at this level, they are very hard. We played in very tense moments where to could go either way.”
The winner was pleased with the outcome.
“The match was very tough. I think the third set was very even. He had his opportunities. I don’t know if he had one or two break points when we were 4-2; then I had two break points when we were 4-All. He played really well and then we went to 5-All; in the first break point I tried to go for it. I was lucky. I just put it on the line. I’m happy about that. I think that beating Feliciano in those conditions is a good victory. Very happy to make it to the third round another year,” told Bautista-Agut.
Eighth seed Tomas Berdych remained untroubled, winning 6-3, 6-3 over Denis Istomin. The 30-year-old Czech lost his service only once and converted on four of his own break point chances to prevail in 69 minutes.
Berdych will take on David Ferrer, who overcame Denis Kudla 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. The world number nine from Spain won 76% of his first service points and 65% of his second to prevail in two hours and 15 minutes.
The highly emotive contest between the tournament’s number four Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios was moved to a crowded court 3 but ended without any drama.
Both players didn’t lose their serve and the match was decided in two tie-break sets with the better outcome for the Australian youngster. Kyrgios withstood 11 aces, hitting seven of his own to seal a 7-6, 7-6 victory in one hour and 45 minutes to back up his 2015 Madrid win over Federer.
Sixth favourite Kei Nishikori fought past Fabio Fognini, winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. The 26-year-old from Japan won 107 of the 207 total points played to gain his second victory over the Italian in as many meetings between the two. The encounter lasted two hours and 12 minutes.
“After the first set, he started playing better than me, for sure. And also in the third set. I think that he also deserved to win. I think he played more aggressive and he was hitting better serves and returning well,” told Nishikori.
“I don’t know what’s happened to him last couple games, but there was also a little bit of luck. I thought that I played pretty good tennis in the first set, so I tried to keep it up, you know, my confidence, and try to play better next match,” he added taking on Richard Gasquet next.