Three Frenchmen advanced out of the first round Monday at the Madrid Masters, led by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who needed three tough sets to put away Andrei Kuznetsov 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5.
In a countryman showdown, Gilles Simon saved two match points to beat Gael Monfils in, what else, but an unusual 0-6, 6-0, 7-6(0) encounter. Monfils held matchpoints in the third with Simon serving 2-5. But after winning 11 of 13 games, the momentum swung back to Simon’s side.
Nicolas Mahut also played a final set breaker against Jack Sock, going down 4-2 before storming back to win it 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(4).
Tsonga advanced to a meeting with 35-year-old David Ferrer who came from a set and a break down to beat qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-4.
“I’m very proud of my career. But that figure is a very big figure. It’s something quite big to achieve, very difficult to achieve for a tennis player,” Ferrer said. “Fortunately, I’ve been lucky. I have had a long career. I still have a lot of time ahead of me. I’ve won a lot of matches and that makes me very happy. I’ve been very happy playing tennis.”
Tomas Berdych, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov were also winners.
On Tuesday, world No. 1 Andy Murray debuts against Marius Copil. Alexander Zverev squares off against Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco.
“Expectations are high. I want to do well the next few weeks. In many ways, it’s the most important part of the year. There’s a lot of big tournaments that come very quickly, one after the other,” said Murray. “I’m motivated and looking forward to it.”
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will open play on Wednesday.
TUESDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
ATP – I. Karlovic (CRO) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
WTA – R. Vinci (ITA) vs  S. Halep (ROU)
ATP –  A. Murray (GBR) vs [WC] M. Copil (ROU)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – A. Zverev (GER) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
WTA –  D. Cibulkova (SVK) vs [Q] O. Dodin (FRA)
ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP – [WC] T. Robredo (ESP) vs [WC] N. Almagro (ESP)
ATP – B. Paire (FRA) vs P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU) vs C. Bellis (USA)
ATP – [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) vs  L. Pouille (FRA)
WTA – T. Bacsinszky (SUI) vs K. Bertens (NED)
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