The hope that Cameron Norrie, following his appearance at the Estoril final last Sunday, would emulate his countryman Dan Evans and progress into the second round of the Mutua Madrid Masters, was denied by blisters which forced him to withdraw!
It’s important to win when you are not playing your best game and things are not going well, so it’s really important to win this match to have more confidence. I am happy that I turned it around Andrei Rublev
Norrie, the British No.2 world ranked 48 with the third most wins on the tour this year, was due to play Filip Krajinovic in the first round, has been replaced by Lucky Loser Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan who went on to comfortably eliminate the Serb 6-2 6-4.
Evans meanwhile, has discovered who his next opponent will be and will face John Millman on Wednesday, the Australian having battled past the 12th seed from Poland, world ranked 16, Hubert Hurkacz 5-7 7-6(7) 6-3 for the biggest win of his career.
Their battle lasted little more than two hours and 20-minutes before the 31-year-old Queenslander closed out the match.
It was a big day for Australia in the Spanish capital, with Alexei Popyrin also winning his match 6-3 7-6(4) against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff and Alex de Minaur who has already reached te third round.
Andre Rublev, the sixth seed from Russia, opened up the second round by rallying from one set down to defeat Tommy Paul of the US 6-7(5) 6-3 6-4.
The 2021 Monte-Carlo Masters finalist saved a total of three break points before earning the decisive break in the ninth game and then clinching his first win in Madrid with an ace.
“It’s important to win when you are not playing your best game and things are not going well, so it’s really important to win this match to have more confidence. I am happy that I turned it around,” said Rublev after the two hours and 20-minute match.
World number 10 Matteo Berrettini, seeded 8, saw off his fellow Italian Fabio Fognini, winning 6-3 6-4 to book his place n the third round where he joins Kazakh Alexander Bublik who survived a tight three setter against the 11th seed, Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 6-4 5-7 6-4.
Shapovalov was followed out of the event by compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 15th seed, who lost 6-1 6-4 to Norway’s Casper Ruud in the opening round.
The US Open champion and world No.4 Dominic Thiem Thiem eased to a 6-1 6-3 thrashing of American Marcos Giron in his first match for almost two months.
The Austrian, playing for the first time since a surprise loss to Lloyd Harris in Dubai, broke his 91st-ranked opponent’s serve four times and did not face a break point.
“I need 100 percent in every aspect of my game,” said the third seed.
“I was just not able to put that on court in Doha, Dubai, or towards the end of the Australian Open, so that’s why it was better to take a break.”
Thiem will next face Australia’s Alex de Minaur, who was leading Harris 6-2 3-0 when the South African retired injured, in the third round.
Another retirement helped Italian teenager Jannik Sinner, he 14th seed, book his place in the second round when his opponent Guido Pella of Argentina withdrew with a leg injury in the second set while trailing 6-2 4-4 and will face next, Alexei Popyrin.
“I never played against him before, so you never know what to expect,” said world number 18 Sinner.
“I was trying to keep focused on what I had to do. I think it has been a good first match obviously.”
Former Madrid Open runner-up Kei Nishikori edged out Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-7(6) 6-2 6-2 in the first round.