Djokovic, Murray Set Third Round Madrid Masters Clash; Nadal Makes 2022 Clay Debut

by Staff | May 3rd, 2022, 10:16 pm
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Old friends, old rivals Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray set a Thursday third round meeting at the Madrid Masters.

Djokovic, a 3-time Madrid winner, played his best match of the season cruising past Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2. Djokovic improves to 18-0 against Monfils, making his the first player in the Open Era to win his first 18 matches over another player.

The win also keeps Djokovic as the No. 1 player. But most importantly, after a rough start to the season, Djokovic finally played a some top-notch tennis.

“I played one of the most athletic and quickest players that we have in the game,” Djokovic said. “I know his game very well. I know I have to always be ready that another ball will always come back from his part of the court, that you have to constantly try to have a controlled aggression… and dictate the point.

“I was moving well, dictating with the forehand side, moving him around the court and finding my serve also the last few service games, return.”

Murray followed through needing three sets to oust Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Murray, who wasn’t even targeting playing on clay, is making the most of his appearance beating Dominic Thiem and now Shapovalov.

“I trained very hard the past four or five weeks and got my game in good shape. My movement has been so much better than where it was at the beginning of the year and it makes a huge difference to my whole game,” Murray said. “It allows me to make different decisions on the court. My movement won me that match tonight. I defended so many points. He has so much power and I managed to defend lots of points and that won the match for me, so I was really happy with that.”

Murray hasn’t played Djokovic in over four years since 2017 Doha final won by the Serb. Overall, Djokovic leads 25-11 and 5-1 on the clay.

“In theory I should have no chance in the match. He’s obviously No. 1 in the world, I’m playing with a metal hip, so I shouldn’t have a chance in the match,” Murray said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to see where my game’s at and to play against him again.

“We’ve had so many great battles over the years in some of the biggest tournaments in the world. We played in the final I think of all four Grand Slams, we played here in the final, and I haven’t had that opportunity to play against him for a long time. Didn’t know if I ever would get that chance, so I’ll enjoy it, I’ll have a fantastic attitude in the match, give it my best and see where I’m at.”

Carlos Alcaraz made his debut edging Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5.

“I think I played really well. This is a tough opponent. He plays really hard,” Alcaraz said. “I think that the first match in every tournament is tough, but I was focused from the beginning to the end and I’m really happy to get into the next round.”

Up next for the teen will be either John Isner or Cameron Norrie.

Andrey Rublev, Sebastian Korda, Roberto Bautista Agut were also winners as was Miomir Kecmanovic who set a clash tomorrow against 5-time winner Rafael Nadal who will make his 2022 clay debut.

Wednesday will also see Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner all on court.

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