Cilic Saves MP In Madrid, Americans Advance; Federer Makes Clay Debut Tues.
Marin Cilic posted the win of the day in Madrid saving four match points to beat qualifier Martin Klizan 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(0).
The victory snapped a 4-match losing streak for the Croatian. He’ll now face Jan-Lennard Struff.
While got out of his funk, Grigor Dimitrov did not. The former Top 5 star fell to Taylor Fritz in two breakers. Dimitrov has now won just four of his last nine matches, and hasn’t made even a quarter since his first event of the year in Brisbane.
Fritz was part of a great day for American as Frances Tiafoe, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in three, and big man Reilly Opelka, a winner over Spanish hope Pablo Carreno Busta, also advanced.
Fritz returns tomorrow to face top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Spanish men went just 1-3 on the day with Fernando Verdasco closing the night with a win over Radu Albot. Young star Alejandro Fokina Davidovich fell to the returning Richard Gasquet and Karen Khachanov got off the snide a little with a win over Jaume Munar.
Gael Monfils also joined Gasquet in the win column on Monday.
Also on a big Tuesday of tennis, Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to clay after three years away. The Swiss, who hasn’t played on dirt since 2016 Rome, will face Gasquet. Federer leads the Frenchman 17-2.
“It takes some time getting used to how to construct the points maybe a little bit more,” Federer said of the clay. “Because there is more baseline, there is a possibility to play with more angles and height, I guess, off a hard ball you can roll it and spin it and go loopy, whereas on a faster court you almost have to hit against it. It is hard to take pace off the ball.”
Stan Wawrinka is also in action against qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Two-time finalist Dominic Thiem takes on the towering Opelka and David Ferrer opens his farewell event against countryman Roberto Bautista Agut.
I obviously feel really good coming into this tournament. I just won my biggest title on clay which was an amazing week. But I think it doesn’t matter for this tournament because all the best players in the world are here. It’s completely different conditions than in Barcelona. But I’m always very happy to come back here.
“I played finals two previous years,” said Thiem. “I feel very good here with the altitude and with the little bit of special conditions. So, I hope that I can keep my good form.”
TUESDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
Manolo Santana 12:00 Noon
2nd Rd 3 Simona Halep v Johanna Konta
2nd Rd 1 Novak Djokovic v (Q) Taylor Fritz
Not Before 4:00 Pm
1st Rd (WC) David Ferrer v Roberto Bautista Agut
Not Before 8:00 Pm
2nd Rd 4 Roger Federer v Richard Gasquet
Not Before 9:30 Pm
2nd Rd Petra Martic v 4 Angelique Kerber
Arantxa Sanchez 12:00 Noon
1st Rd Stan Wawrinka v (Q) PierreHugues Herbert
2nd Rd 1 Naomi Osaka v (WC) Sara Sorribes Tormo
Not Before 4:00 Pm
2nd Rd (Q) Kateryna Kozlova v 5 Karolina Pliskova
1st Rd 13 Borna Coric v Lucas Pouille
2nd Rd (Q) Reilly Opelka v 5 Dominic Thiem
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