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Dolgopolov Beats Fognini In Madrid; Almagro Converts 11th Match Point

Madrid, Spain

Dolgopolov© Getty ImagesAlexandr Dolgopolov will play Ernests Gulbis in the second round.

Alexandr Dolgopolov knocked out No. 13 seed Fabio Fognini, who was runner-up to Martin Klizan at last week's BMW Open by FWU AG, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday. He won 18 of his 20 net approaches and hit 24 winners.

"I've had a few tough weeks," said Dolgopolov. "Obviously you cannot play really good every week, but I'm happy that I could come back, practise a little bit, have a good match here and get a victory. Fabio always plays well on clay. So it was a tough match and I'm happy to be through."

World No. 20 Ernests Gulbis kept his nerve to beat No. 21-ranked Jerzy Janowicz 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2. Gulbis hit 18 aces to Janowicz’s 11 and proved to be stronger on second serve.

Looking ahead to his clash with Gulbis, Dolgopolov said, "He has all the shots. Sometimes he just gets a little bit angry on the court, which can affect his game. But apart from that, he can play unbelievable. He can play a match and you don't see the ball. It's tough to play him. You don't know how good he's going to be. I'll need to make him play a lot of shots and maybe he can make a few errors. I'll need to be good on the return and the defence."

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Nicolas Almagro came through an epic three-set win over qualifier Andrey Golubev mid-afternoon, converting his 11th match point in a 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-4 victory over two hours and 31 minutes. Almagro, the 2010 semi-finalist, who has a 13-6 record on clay, will now play seventh seed and 2008 titlist Andy Murray, who is bidding to win his 10th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.

HaasQualifier Igor Sijsling notched his first win in four meeting against Tommy Haas, the No. 14 seed, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes. Sijsling, a semi-finalist at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (l. to Cilic) in February, saved nine of 12 break points against Haas, who, at 36, is currently No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Sijsling will next challenge Jarkko Nieminen in the second round.

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Kevin Anderson will square off against sixth seed Tomas Berdych for the 11th time in the past 28 months on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open. Anderson, who has yet to beat Berdych, recorded his 16th match win of the season on Tuesday when he defeated Radek Stepanek 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes.

"Radek is a very tricky opponent," said Anderson. "He mixes it up and he hit quite a few drop shots. He's very crafty at the net. Being down that break in the second set, I really needed to get myself going. It wasn't easy, but I was really pleased with the way I managed to turn things around. I definitely will look at the way I finished the match in the second and third sets."

When asked about his next opponent, Berdych, Anderson said, "It's been quite a few matches now! It's my first one with Neville [Godwin, his coach]. So maybe he'll have some magic words to get a win. It's going to be a tough match, but at least I know what to expect. The conditions help the serve; it's getting up a lot so that's definitely in my favour. Tomas is a tall guy, so I'm sure he likes the conditions as well. He's had some good success here. I'm just going to focus on my game and definitely use the conditions as best I can."

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