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Nadal, Murray and Wozniacki among the day one winners in Madrid


The Madrid Open’s pioneering virtual tournament began on Monday with a number of matches taking place between some of the world’s top players. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Caroline Wozniacki all won their opening ties on a busy first day of action.

The day began with a hard-fought match between Diego Schwartzman and the Spaniard, David Ferrer, who retired from on-court action at last year’s Madrid Open. The rust showed as Schwartzman took the win, 4-3(4). He backed this up with an even more convincing 3-1 win over John Isner later in the day to take the overnight lead in Group 2.

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The shortened format – first to three games with a two game advantage, or a tie-break at 3-3 – meant the organisers could schedule a large number of matches without any overlap. Not every match was completed, however, as technical issues got in the way, causing cancellations and postponements and playing havoc with the order of play, which listed 24 group stage matches of which only 17 were completed. This gave the commentators and analysts a lot of time to fill and caused some frustration for fans who had been waiting a long time to see their favourite players pick up their controllers.The delayed matches will be completed early on Tuesday off camera.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, runner up to Djokovic in last year’s Madrid final, impressed by winning both of his matches 3-0, guaranteeing his progression to the next round. Meanwhile, in Group 1, Nadal came through a tight opener against Shapovalov, winning 4-3(3), and later, Murray faced Benoit Paire, a late replacement for his countryman, Monfils, who dropped out the day before “due to conflicting rights between streaming platforms.” Paire, perhaps having had little time to prepare, was handily beaten by Murray 3-1.

On the WTA side, Sorana Cirstea was the stand out performer, beating Jo Konta in a mere 3 minutes and then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, coming back from a break down to beat Elina Svitolina 4-2, saving three match points along the way. Afterwards, she said, “the fact that I picked up a PlayStation one week ago, this means a lot.” Caroline Wozniacki, who retired after this year’s Australian Open, also won two matches, and Belina Bencic provided one of the day’s highlights with her masterly entrance routine.

The full list of the opening day’s results runs as follows:

ATP

  • Group 1: Nadal d. Shapovalov 4-3(3); Murray d. Paire 3-1
  • Group 2: Schwartzman d. Ferrer 4-3(4); Schwartzman d. Isner 3-1
  • Group 3: Tsitsipas d. Fognini 3-0; Fognini d. Tiafoe 4-3(4); Tsitsipas d. Nishikori 3-0; Nishikori d. Tiafoe 3-0
  • Group 4: Goffin d. Pouille 3-1; Zverev d. Pouille 3-1

WTA

  • Group 1: Bencic d. Suarez 3-1; Ferro d. Pliskova 3-0
  • Group 2: Cirstea d. Konta 3-0; Cirstea d. Svitolina 4-2
  • Group 3: Wozniacki d. Mladenovic 4-2; Wozniacki d. Andreescu 3-0
  • Group 4: Bertens d. Kerber 3-0

Tuesday kicks off with a blockbuster encounter between Nadal and Murray, and should see the completion of the group stage matches. The knockout rounds will then take place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the winners claiming 150,000 euros to put towards helping players outside the top 100 who may be struggling financially with the suspension of the tours.

 

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