As the Masters 1000 tournament of Madrid has started, almost all of the world’s best players are present. In front of all, one of the greatest tennis players in history returns after being absent for almost two months, Roger Federer.
Federer will begin his Madrid campaign fighting another veteran, Radek Stepanek, in the second round on Tuesday. Stepanek played his first match versus youngster Bernard Tomic and played a great game winning easily in two sets.
However, Stepanek will for sure suffer a mental disadvantage when facing Federer, due to the fact that he only have won two out of their 14 previous meetings. Last time he won was all the way back in 2008, on the clay courts of Rome.
Having a look at what has happened so far during the tournament, most matches have ended the way people expected.However, the Croatian, Marian Cilic lost a three-setter against the Spaniard Pablo Andujar.
Cilic grabbed the first set in a tough tiebreak 8-6, but still could not come through. The unseeded Spaniard came back playing more inspired than in many months, turning the game around and rightfully sealed a place in the second round 6-7 6-4 6-1.
Some seeded players that held their ground better were Japanese Key Nishikori and big serving John Isner from America. Nishikori who post-tournament in Barclelona, said that he has been troubled by the surface change from hard to clay, found his game right from the start when facing Jurgen Melzer.
Melzer tried the serve and volley tactic but it proved to fit the Nishikori perfectly as he fired amazing passing shots throughout the whole match whilst returning Melzer's serves. The game quickly came to and end with Nishikori winning 6-4 6-2 without facing a single breakpoint on serve.
Isner had to fight hard but in the end, with the help of 13 aces, he came through in straight sets 7-5 7-6(8-6) against qualifier Guillermo Garcia Lopez.
The best-seeded player to battle on Monday was Nicolas Almagro, who made little work of German Tobias Kamke. He won the first set 6-4, just to see his opponent retire shortly after, with pain in his right hip.
Tuesday will feature Andy Murray, John Isner and a huge clash between Milos Raonic and Fernando Verdasco.
Raonic and Verdasco have had some truly epic encounters against each other before with the outcome of two victories each. Raonic however, has never beaten Verdasco on clay but is determined to do so on Tuesday.
Speaking to the ATPWorldTour.com after his game on Monday he said
Looking ahead to the match, Raonic said: "I've just got to clean up crucial mistakes, take care of my serve, create a couple of opportunities on his serve and make the most of them."
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