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Youzhny Cruises Through Opener; Almagro Rallies

Madrid, Spain

Almagro© Getty ImagesNicolas Almagro improved to a 5-0 mark against Santiago Giraldo.

World No. 34 Mikhail Youzhny cruised through his opener at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday, dismissing Spanish wild card Javier Marti 6-3, 6-2 in 75 minutes. The Russian converted five of his six break points and won 70 per cent of points on serve to advance at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament.

The 29-year-old Youzhny improved to a 13-5 match record on the season, highlighted by winning his eighth ATP World Tour title in Zagreb (d. Lacko) in February. Serbia’s Viktor Troicki also advanced, overcoming American Donald Young 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 to notch his 10th win of the season.

No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro rallied from a set down to defeat Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard has won more matches on clay (17) this year than any other player on the ATP World Tour. Giraldo, who is the top Colombian ranked No. 53, slipped to 16-12 on the season, including 9-7 on clay. 

"I was conscious that it was going to be a difficult match; every single match against Santi is really difficult," said Almagro. "In the first set, I think that I played really well to be able to win it but I didn't and afterwards I think that I raised my level and I won two sets."

American wild card Ryan Harrison enjoyed a successful debut in Madrid, edging Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(3), 7-6(5) in one hour and 53 minutes. Harrison, who was celebrating his 20th birthday, goes onto face fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Russian qualifier Igor Andreev denied former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero a win in his first match since February, defeating the Spaniard 6-4, 7-6(4). Andreev faced down all five break points faced on serve, including two set points down 4-5 in the second. Ferrero had been sidelined for more than two months with a wrist injury.

Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver will face World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second round after prevailing against Romanian and fellow qualifier Victor Hanescu 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 24 minutes. Spanish wild card Guillermo Garcia-Lopez needed one minute less to close out a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.

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