Andy Murray made the most of his first clay match in 18 months easing past former French finalist Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4.
Thiem, who is in the midst of a comeback from a wrist injury, was a 2-time Madrid finalist in 2017 and 2018, had little to offer Murray in the match of former Grand Slam champions
Thiem’s shots aren’t at full strength and Murray was able to take advantage, muscling the Austrian around the court.
“I enjoyed it. I prepared really hard before coming here,” said Murray who wasn’t even going to play on the clay.
“I worked hard and really wanted to go out and put a good performance out there. I feel like I did that. When I played a couple of years ago on the clay, I was struggling a little bit with my groin. My body felt really good in the last few weeks and tonight I felt like I moved well and I played a really good match.”
Thiem falls to 0-3 in this comeback.
“It’s extremely difficult,” Murray said of Thiem’s return. “He obviously had the injury initially and has also had some setbacks along the way. Mentally, it will take time to feel confident, totally accelerating on the ball. I had a wrist injury when I was 20 years old and it was very difficult. It took me time before I started to feel comfortable on the forehand side again.
“He uses his wrist a lot when he plays. He plays with heavy topspin. It’s obviously going to take him time, but he can still hit the ball great. He’s serving well, moving well. It’s just going to take time.”
Jannik Sinner saved match points for a fourth time this year, overcoming Tommy Paul who failed to close it out in straights. The Italian roared back to win it 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3.
“It was a very difficult situation, of course,” said Sinner. “I was up in the first set 5-2, and then I lost it. He played a very good tie-break. I made a couple of unforced errors at the beginning, and the second set was kind of a rollercoaster also.
“I’m happy to be in the second round here. Obviously it was a tough match, and let’s see how the next match goes.”
Fellow seeds Cameron Norrie, Diego Schwartzman and Denis Shapovalov also advanced. Lorenzo Musetti, Lucas Pouille, Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils were also winners.
Tomorrow, Monfils will try to snap a 17-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic.
Carlos Alcaraz also opens play and Murray returns to meet Shapovalov.
TUESDAY MADRID SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA STADIUM Starts At 12:00 PM
6 Andrey Rublev v (WC) Jack Draper
Not Before 1:30 PM
Daria Kasatkina v Sara Sorribes Tormo
Not Before 4:00 Pm
1 Novak Djokovic v Gael Monfils
Not Before 8:00 PM
9 Emma Raducanu v Anhelina Kalinina
Nikoloz Basilashvili v 7 Carlos Alcaraz
ARANTXA SANCHEZ STADIUM Starts At 12:00 Pm
Marin Cilic v Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Jenson Brooksby v 17 Roberto Bautista Agut
Not Before 3:30 PM
12 Jessica Pegula v Bianca Andreescu
Botic van de Zandschulp v 16 Pablo Carreno Busta
(WC) Andy Murray v 14 Denis Shapovalov
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