Djokovic, Del Potro move on in Madrid

3:01 PM, May 8, 2012   |    comments
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Madrid, Spain (Sports Network) - World No. 1 Novak Djokovic needed three sets to reach the third round, while Juan Martin del Potro, fresh off his title in Estoril, continued his winning ways with a first-round win at the $4 million Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 Masters event.

The reigning Madrid titlist Djokovic hiccupped in the second set Tuesday on the way to a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno Traver. Both players struck seven aces in the 1-hour, 46-minute affair.

Djokovic, who will meet the Stan Wawrinka-Jurgen Melzer winner here on Thursday, beat Spanish hero and two-time Madrid champ Rafael Nadal in last year's finale.

The 10th-seeded world No. 11 del Potro popped eight aces in flooring German Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round on the unusual blue clay at The Magic Box.

Del Potro will face Russian and fellow former top-10 star Mikhail Youzhny on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Czech slugger Tomas Berdych eased into the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 handling of tall South African Kevin Anderson. The former Wimbledon runner-up Berdych will meet acrobatic Frenchman Gael Monfils on Day 4.

In opening-round play, ninth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon came from behind to get past Italian Fabio Fognini 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-3 and the 12th-seeded oft- injured Monfils, playing in his first match since March, cooled off last week's Munich champion Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 7-5, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3.

In other first-round action involving seeds, Melzer upended No. 13 Spaniard and fellow lefthander Feliciano Lopez 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4; No. 14 Frenchman Richard Gasquet overcame Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); No. 15 Spaniard Fernando Verdasco topped Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 7-5, 6-2; and No. 16 Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov doused Spaniard Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Last week's Belgrade titlist Andreas Seppi stayed hot with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over France's Michael Llodra, while rising Canadian Milos Raonic drove out former top-five star David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 in opening-round play.

In other first-round action, Czech Radek Stepanek defeated Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-2, 7-5; Croat Marin Cilic handled Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-3; Wawrinka bested Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Spain's Marcel Granollers snuck past Argentine Carlos Berlocq, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5; and Argentine Federico Delbonis erased Spain's Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-2.

A second-seeded Nadal, Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer and John Isner will also be among those seeing second-round action on Wednesday. The second-seeded former No. 1 Nadal will take on former top-five Russian Nikolay Davydenko, while the third-seeded former top-ranked Federer will battle the surging Raonic. Federer, like Nadal, is a two-time champion in Madrid.

Nadal holds the record with 20 Masters titles, including one in Monte Carlo last month, while Federer owns 19 Masters shields.

The 2012 Madrid Open champ will earn $770,000.

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