Djokovic begins Madrid campaign with victory

Madrid, May 5

Novak Djokovic stepped up his preparations for the French Open as the top seed beat teenager Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in his opening match at the Madrid Masters on Wednesday.

The world No 1, who lifted the trophy in the Spanish capital five years ago, has not played in Madrid since 2013 when he lost his opening match to Grigor Dimitrov. The Serb’s success over Croatian youngster Coric was his first clay win of 2016 following a loss in Monte Carlo to Jiri Vesely almost a month ago. “I had some time to recuperate emotionally and mentally,” Djokovic said. Djokovic will next face Spanish specialist Roberto Bautista Agut after the 15th seed defeated fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios dumped out 2013 finalist Stan Wawrinka, with the Australian seeing off the Swiss 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/2) in the second round. Wawrinka, the fourth seed, managed 11 aces but was unable to break the Kyrgios serve while losing his own four times. “It was generally a good match, I had chances in the first set,” Wawrinka said.

Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori was helped by a collapse from Fabio Fognini as the Italian served for victory — Asia’s top player completed a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 fightback win. Czech eighth seed Tomas Berdych showed fitness after a stomach virus, advancing over Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, while world No 9 David Ferrer beat Denis Kudla 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

French 16th seed Gilles Simon will line up against Andy Murray in the next round on Wednesday after a defeat of Estoril finalist Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The women’s Madrid Open was hit by a high-level injury defection as fourth seed and two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka quit before her match due to lower back pain. The premature exit handed a place in the quarter-finals to qualifier Louisa Chirico. Her withdrawal came on the day that holder and two-time champion Petra Kvitova lost in the third round, going out to Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4.

There are now no top five women’s seeds left in the event. No 6 Simona Halep heads the field after she beat Swiss 10th seed Timea Bacsinszky, a title-winner at the weekend in Morocco, 6-2, 6-3.