Tuesday’s all-Spanish clash between Nicolás Almagro and Tommy Robredo would produce an opponent for the defending champion of the Mutua Madrid Open, Novak Djokovic. After more than an hour and a half of play it was Almagro who punched the sky to celebrate a hard-fought victory in the third set 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
To seal his place in the second round and book a meeting with Djokovic, the Murcia native first had to dig deep in a match that was going his way after he took the first set. Because the second fell to Robredo, who improved his percentage of points won with his first serve (from 54% to 75%) and levelled the match. But in the third, Almagro picked himself up and played an almost perfect set to close the match out and seal a tie with ‘Nole’ in the next round.
In the first match in the Manolo Santana Stadium, Roberto Bautista lost an intense tie with Ivo Karlovic after over three hours of play and a tiebreak in each set, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. The Spaniard was unable to stop the powerful serve of the Croat, who produced 35 aces and saved the 7 break points enjoyed by Bautista.
Pablo Carreño Busta, Albert Ramos-Viñolas and Fernando Verdasco were equally unfortunate. The first was unable to deal with Frenchman Benoit Paire, who took the match in two sets (6-3, 6-4). Diego Schwartzman saw off Ramos-Viñolas, ending the Spaniard’s dream in a little over an hour (6-1, 6-3). In Verdasco’s match, the Madrid native was playing one of the most promising players on tour, Alexander Zverev. Despite playing some impressive tennis, the Spaniard was outplayed by the German, who sealed victory in two sets 7-5, 6-3.