After stumbling in his clay opener last month, former champion Novak Djokovic had no issues Wednesday in his first match at Madrid Wednesday, crushing Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4.
“[It] was a satisfying performance against a young player that I had never played against, somebody who was in form,” Djokovic said. “I watched his match against Almagro, who won a tournament last week, and he beat him comfortably. That deserves respect.
“We know each other well. We’ve practice many times. I do see myself in him a little bit. We play a similar style. He’s a great fighter. For his age, he’s quite mature and mentally tough. We have a very nice relationship. Today was the first official match we’ve played against each other, so I was happy with my performance. It was a fun match to be part of.”
Djokovic will next face Roberto Bautista Agut tomorrow after the Spaniard dismissed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
“[Bautista Agut]’s style is not really characteristic of Spanish tennis, which involves a lot of rotation and spin on the shots. [But] he always makes the opponent play an extra shot. He’s very calm on the court, very composed. We’ve played each other few times. It’s going to be a good one,” said Djokovic of the flat-hitting Spaniard.”
Four-time champion Rafael Nadal returns to face Sam Querrey, who beat Lucas Pouille of France in three sets.
“Querrey is a player that plays very well and the altitude suits him a lot,” said Nadal who is 3-0 against the American.
And defending champion Andy Murray is back after a day off to battle the tricky Gilles Simon. Murray has won 13 of 15 against the Frenchman.
Also today, former finalist Kei Nishikori won a tough battle against Fabio Fognini while 2013 runner-up Stan Wawrinka fell to rival Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 7-6.
Nishikori now faces Richard Gasquet.
David Ferrer also Tomas Berdych also advanced to a Sweet 16 Thursday showdown.
Jack Sock ended the hopes of Juan Martin del Potro is straight sets 6-4, 7-6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ousted Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4. Tsonga now meets Milos Raonic.
In the match of the day, Pablo Cuevas edged Gael Monfils 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4) in also 2-hours, 30-minutes. With poor light late in the contest, the match actually had to be moved to court 3 to finish. Cuevas will take on Kyrgios.
THURSDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
ATP –  G. Simon (FRA) vs  A. Murray (GBR)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA –  S. Halep (ROU) vs I. Begu (ROU)
ATP –  N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP –  R. Nadal (ESP) vs S. Querrey (USA)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – S. Stosur (AUS) vs [Q] P. Tig (ROU)
ARANTXA SANCHEZ start 12:00 noon
WTA – [Q] L. Chirico (USA) vs D. Gavrilova (AUS)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  T. Berdych (CZE) vs  D. Ferrer (ESP)
ATP – N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs P. Cuevas (URU)
ATP – J. Sock (USA) vs J. Sousa (POR)
ATP –  M. Raonic (CAN) vs  J. Tsonga (FRA)
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