Novak Djokovic stepped up his preparations for the French Open as the top seed beat teenager Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in his opening match at the Madrid Masters yesterday.
The world number one, who lifted the trophy in the Spanish capital five years ago, has not played in Madrid since 2013 when he lost his opening match to Grigor Dimitrov.
The Serb’s success over Croatian youngster Coric was his first clay win of 2016 following a loss in Monte Carlo to Jiri Vesely almost a month ago.
“Second match on the clay-court season for me—the first one didn’t go so well for me,” Djokovic said. “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, first four months. I played a lot of matches.
“I performed very solid in opening round, few things could have been better against a young player that I never played against.”
Djokovic will next face Spanish specialist Roberto Bautista Agut after the 15th seed defeated fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios dumped out 2013 finalist Stan Wawrinka, with the Australian seeing off the Swiss 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2) in the second round.
Wawrinka, the fourth seed, managed 11 aces but was unable to break the Kyrgios serve while losing his own four times.
“It was generally a good match, I had chances in the first set,” Wawrinka said.
“He was serving well in the big moments. He played better on a few important points.
“His serve was tough to read. it was a high-level match but a few points can make the difference.”
Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori was helped by a collapse from Fabio Fognini as the Italian served for victory—Asia’s top player completed a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 fightback win.
“After the first set, he started playing better than me. In the third, he deserved to win. I don’t know what happened to him in the last couple of games.
“I had a little luck, so I tried to keep up my confidence.”
Czech eighth seed Tomas Berdych showed fitness after a stomach virus, advancing over Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, while world number nine David Ferrer beat Denis Kudla 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
French 16th seed Gilles Simon will line up against Andy Murray in the next round on Wednesday after a defeat of Estoril finalist Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Holder and two-time champion Petra Kvitova lost in the third round, going out to Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4.
There are now no top five women’s seeds left in the event, after Victoria Azarenka pulled out with a back injury.
Number six Simona Halep heads the field after she beat Swiss 10th seed Timea Bacsinszky, a title-winner at the weekend in Morocco, 6-2, 6-3.
Romanian Irina Begu beat Christina McHale 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4 while Sorana Cirstea defeated German Laura Siegemund 6-4, 7-6 (11/9).
Men (Round II): 1-Novak Djokovic (SRB) bt Borna Coric (CRO) 6-2, 6-4; 15-Roberto Bautista (ESP) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 5-7, 7-5; Tomas Berdych (CZE) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-3, 6-3; Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt 4-Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/2); 6-Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-2, 3-6, 7-5; Sam Querrey (USA) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4; João Sousa (POR) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-3, 6-3; 16-Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Pablo Carreño-Busta (ESP) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; 9-David Ferrer (ESP) bt Denis Kudla (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Women (Round III)
Louisa Chirico (USA) bt 4-Victoria Azarenka (BLR)- walkover; Daria Gavrilova (AUS) bt 5-Petra Kvitova (CZE) 6-3, 6-4; Irina Begu (ROM) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4; 6-Simona Halep (ROM) bt 10-Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 6-2, 6-3; Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-4, 7-6 (11/9)
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