Madrid Masters: Djokovic survives scare; Azarenka, Sharapova advance
Madrid, Spain (AHN Sports) – World’s No.1 Novak Djokovic barely staved off early elimination after surviving Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in their second-round nail-biter Tuesday at the 2012 Madrid Masters.
The 24-year-old Djokovic was pushed to the limit in his second-round three-set duel with Gimeno-Traver, blaming the tournament’s new blue clay-court surface as a major factor in Tuesday afternoon’s near upset.
“To me that’s not tennis. Either I come out with football shoes or I invite Chuck Norris to advise me how to play on this court,” Djokovic told ESPN Tuesday. “Center court is impossible to move on. I hit five balls throughout the whole match. With everything else, I was just trying to keep the ball in the court.”
Djokovic had a strong opening set but the Serb was riddled with errors in the following set, allowing 137th ranked Gimeno-Traver to seize the opportunity and eventually take the second set.
Djokovic’s perseverance paid off as the Serb raced to a 4-2 lead in the deciding set before finishing off Gimeno-Traver. He will next take on the winner of the second-round clash between Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka and Jurgen Melzer.
Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova also rolled into the next round of the Madrid Masters after disposing of their respective opponents in straight sets.
Azarenka, the world’s top female netter, defeated Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 7-6 to arrange a tasty showdown with Ana Ivanovic.
Sharpova vanquished Czech Klára Zakopalová 6-4, 6-3 to forge a third-round duel with veteran campaigner Lucie Safarova.