Stalwart Feliciano López Opens 15th Madrid Campaign

MADRID, May 2, 2016

Four Spaniards headlined Monday’s first round action of the ATP Masters 1000 Mutua Madrid Open, held at La Caja Mágica.

Madrid resident Feliciano López, who is the only player in the tournament’s history appearing at all 15 editions, took revenge on Leonardo Mayer, winning 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. The Argentine ousted the left-hander in the second round a year ago. This time, López fired 14 aces and won 52% of the total points to prevail in two hours and 32 minutes.

“I think it was a complicated match. He is an overall complete player. He hits the ball very well and serves pretty good. Here in Madrid it’s complicated to play against him. It’s tough to play against him and especially in the first match when you’re not just used to conditions here. It’s not easy to return his balls because they’re very heavy,” told López.

“In the end, I think it’s been a pretty tight match. The first set I just won in the tiebreak by a couple of points. I served pretty well, and then I missed two in the second set and didn’t manage to come back. I had a couple break points but I didn’t manage to convert them and recover my lost serve in the second set. In the third set I think I was playing a little bit better than him. I had a few more chances. When I was returning the ball I was doing well and serving pretty well. The games were good. Finally in that game, in the third match point, I could win it. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to play a little bit better.” 

He will play the winner of the match between Roberto Bautista-Agut and Santiago Giraldo next.

“Roberto is overall a very compete player. He has very powerful shots. We have played this year already in Indian Wells a very tight and tough match. I really don’t have any preference. I think both matches will be very difficult. Giraldo won two matches in the previous rounds, so he must be playing very well. You’re more confident, and it’s not easy to play against players that have played in the previous rounds,” López stated.

Richard Gasquet ended the good run of qualifier and main-draw debutant Roberto Carballés-Baena, winning 6-1, 7-6. The 10th seed from France saved all three break points he faced, converting two of his own to seal victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

11th seed Milos Raonic beat Brazilian qualifier Tomaz Bellucci 7-6, 6-1. The world number 10 from Canada was pushed into two-tie-break sets in their previous meetings, but didn’t face a break point this time, converting three of his own to advance after one hour and 21 minutes. Raonic will take on Alexandr Dolgopolov next.

The tournament’s number 16 Gilles Simon battled past Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. The 31-year-old Frenchman withstood eight aces, smashing four of his own to finish the encounter after two hours and 24 minutes. Simon awaits the winner over the match between Estoril Open runner-up Pablo Carreno-Busta and Istanbul finalist Grigor Dimitrov.

In the final match on Madrid’s show court, two-time semi-finalist David Ferrer beat his Spanish compatriot Guillermo Garcia-López 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The number nine seed from Valencia won 70% of his first service points and capitalized on five of his 10 break point chances to advance after one hour and 47 minutes.

Earlier the day, Roger Federer announced that he is forced to withdraw from the tournament due to back injury.