The clay of the Mutua Madrid Open has already started to produce some thrilling stories. A place in the main draw in the Spanish capital will be the main goal for many of the contenders in these early days of the competition, and the home talent look ready to mark their territory from the get-go.
Daniel Rincón, at just 20 years of age, made the most of his opportunity on the clay of the Manolo Santana Stadium. The Madrid native, playing in the qualifiers on an invite from the organisers, became the first winner of the day at the Mutua Madrid Open with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Japanese player Taro Daniel after two hours and 11 minutes of play.
“Being able to play in Madrid, with so many people I know, makes me very happy. Competing on centre court was incredible”, said Rincón on the tournament’s Twitch channel. “It’s very special playing here, I’m really excited about competing, which is how I should approach these matches.”
It was certainly a thrilling first taste of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The Spaniard, who won the Junior US Open in 2021, made the most of the home crowd’s support to overcome a vastly experienced member of the world’s Top 100 and one of the favourites to reach the main draw.
“In Madrid it’s always difficult practising for the first few days. Also, the first day I trained with Taro and I lost. In Madrid the conditions are always difficult. With the altitude, the ball bounces high. I’ve started to find my game and today I managed to play pretty well”.
The dream of reaching the final stage of the tournament and playing against the best players on tour is now just one step away for Rincón. The Madrid native, who was one of the biggest attractions in the qualifiers for the Spanish fans, will now face Hugo Grenier (6-7, 6-3, 6-3 vs. Lukas Klein) as he bids to complete a magnificent journey in the Caja Mágica.
Being a home player did not bring the same fortune to Pedro Martínez. The Valencian player lost out to Hugo Grenier, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) in the biggest battle of the day after three hours and 21 minutes on court. With three participations in the main draw in Madrid, his first win on the clay of the Spanish capital is still yet to come.
On a day packed with big names, Italian player Marco Cecchinato delivered on his seeding by seeing off the Kazakh Timofey Skatov 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The second seed, once a semi-finalist at the French Open, is one of the heavyweights in the Madrid qualifiers this season.
For his part, first seed Jan-Lennard Struff put himself one step away from the main draw. The world No. 65, one of the most experienced players in the qualies, produced the tennis required to sink Luca Nardi 7-5, 6-4 on Monday.
See all of today’s results here.