The top ranked Novak Djokovic playing in his first match since his shocking early exit at last month’s Monte Carlo Masters has entered the third round of the Madrid clay court event after a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 win over the teenager Borna Coric of Croatia. Earlier on Tuesday Rafael Nadal had already booked his place in the last sixteen with a 6-3,6-3 win over the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.
After Roger Federer withdrew on Monday owing to back injury, the highest ranked Swiss in the draw Stanislas Wawrinka who will be defending his French Open title in three weeks time, lost to the Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-7(7), 6-7(2). Kyrgios had beaten Federer at the same stage last year in Madrid. The defending champion Andy Murray too advanced but dropped a set to the veteran Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. The score was 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-1.
Barcelona finalist Kei Nishikori took three sets to beat the Italian Fabio Fognini but Toma’s Berdych advanced in straight sets against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3,6-3. Five more seeded players had to fight three sets as the Spaniards David Ferrer and Roberto Bautista Agut, Canada’s Milos Raonic, Frenchmen Giles Simon and Richard Gasquet advanced into the round of sixteen at the Caja Majica on Wednesday.
Ferrer and Raonic who have been hounded by injuries this year faced stiff resistance from American Dennis Kudla and the Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov. In an all Spanish match up Bautista Agut prevailed over the left handed Feliciano Lopez . Gasquet defeated the Bucharest winner Fernando Verdasco, while Simon prevailed over another Spaniard Pablo Carreno Buesta also in three sets.
In the last match of the day, Juan Martin Del Potro who had upset the young Austrian Dominic Thiem in the first round; his biggest win since returning from a lengthy absence due to surgery on his left wrist was beaten by the American Jack Sock 4-6, 6-7(2). Other winners included the Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Portugal’s Joao Sousa, Sam Querrey and Pablo Cuevas who edged out the Monte Carlo finalist Gael Monfils in a third set tie-break.
Following is the list of round of 16 matches to be played today with my pick mentioned first:-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Roberto Bautista Agut (15)
Milos Raonic (11) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (7)
Pablo Cuevas (-) v. Nick Kyrgios (-)
Kei Nishikori (6) v. Richard Gasquet (10)
Rafael Nadal (5) v. Sam Querrey (-)
Jack Sock (-) v. Joao Sousa
Tomas Berdych (8) v. David Ferrer (9)
Andy Murray (2) v. Giles Simon (16)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]