After a passionate morning session in the Caja Mágica with plenty of Spanish players in action, the Mutua Madrid Open was also packed in anticipation of the opener of the defending champion, Andy Murray. The Scot had to dig deep in his clash with the experienced and always dangerous Radek Stepanek. The Czech produced the goods in the second set but was unable to withstand the attacks from the number two in the world, who eventually came out on top.
The 2015 champion served up 11 aces and kept his composure against the all-or-nothing tennis from Stepanek, who fired 45 winners but exchanged them with 33 unforced errors, which proved his undoing. The result means that Murray is in the third round, where he will meet the winner of tomorrow’s clash with Pablo Carreño and Gilles Simon.
Nicolás Almagro, who was victorious on Sunday in Estoril, was unable to get the better of Borna Coric, who beat him 6-2, 6-2. The Croat will now meet Novak Djokovic tomorrow in his opener. Other players who progressed were Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers who beat Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-2. The other Spanish doubles couple Carla Suárez and Garbiñe Muguruza said adios to the tournament after withdrawing from their match against Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva due to Carla Suárez’s illness.
Milos Raonic also made it through after seeing off Alexandr Dolgopolov in a tight 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 while in the final match of the night, Fernando Verdasco eventually bowed out to Richard Gasquet, who beat the Spaniard in three sets, convincingly in the decider (6-3, 3-6, 6-1).