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Ferrer Starts Strongly In Madrid

Madrid, Spain

Mardy Fish© Getty ImagesAmerican Mardy Fish continues his recent consistency on clay.

Spanish No. 12 seed David Ferrer got off to a flying start at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Argentine qualifier Guillermo Canas in the first round of the third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament of the season.

Ferrer, who reached the quarter-finals in Madrid in 2005 (l. to Ginepri), converted five of 12 break point chances and won 76 per cent of points on serve to seal victory in 84 minutes against the fatigued Canas – who came through a grueling 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Flavio Cipolla in the final round of qualifying on Sunday afternoon.

"I am happy because of my game," said Ferrer. "Playing in an altitude where I have only practised here one day and I feel good. It was a relatively comfortable match and right now I have confidence for the next match."

The 27-year-old Ferrer improved to a 25-11 match record on the season, highlighted by finishing runner-up at ATP World Tour 500 tournaments in Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal). The Javea native also reached semi-finals on hard courts at Auckland (l. to Querrey) and Johannesburg (l. to Chardy).

Former World No. 4 Ferrer next will face Argentine wild card Juan Monaco, who defeated Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-5 in the evening session. Monaco saved all six break points faced on serve, while breaking his opponent once in each set to close out the win in two hours and 10 minutes.

The 47th-ranked Monaco reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final two weeks ago as a qualifier in Rome (l. to Gonzalez). He leads the head-to-head series against Ferrer 2-1 with both his wins coming on clay.

Spanish wild card Oscar Hernandez joined Ferrer in the second round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello and will go on to face a daunting second-round clash with last week’s Serbia Open champion Novak Djokovic. There was less success for Alicante native and lucky loser Ivan Navarro though as he was ousted 6-4, 6-2 by Robin Soderling of Sweden. Navarro had replaced Igor Andreev in the main draw. World No. 23 Soderling next will meet 2006 champion Roger Federer.

Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, the 2008 clay-court match wins leader, suffered a first-round exit as he fell to German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes. Almagro, who won the clay title at Acapulco in February, also bowed out in his opening matches at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay tournaments in Monte-Carlo (l. to Montanes) and Rome (l. to Gulbis). He fell to a 0-4 record in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 action this season.

American Mardy Fish continued his new-found consistency on clay with a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia. The 27-year-old Florida resident, who reached the quarter-finals in Estoril (l. to Davydenko) last week, fired 10 aces and broke serve twice in the 98-minute first-round victory. He next will face Spanish 16th seed Tommy Robredo.

Other first-round winners at the Caja Magica on Monday included Croatian wild card Ivan Ljubicic, who set up a second-round meeting with No. 9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after knocking out Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 6-2. Meanwhile, Frenchman Florent Serra could meet No. 10 seed Nikolay Davydenko after ousting German Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 6-4. 

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