Madrid Open: Federer Wins in Return to Clay after Three Years, Djokovic Cruises, Ferrer’s Career Lives Another Day
(May 7, 2019) Roger Federer made his return to the clay courts after a three-year absence as rolled past Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday at the Madrid Open. The No. 4 seed skipped the entire clay court season the past two years for fitness reasons. He’s won the Madrid Open three times, the last time coming in 2012, when it was played on blue clay.
“It feels good to be back on the clay,” Federer said to media. “I enjoyed it. Some of these rallies, where you get pushed to the side, you slide. You can play in a different manner than you do on the hard courts or the grass.”
The 37-year-old Swiss is planning on making his first French Open appearance since 2015. The 20-time major winner won Roland Garros in 2009.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic had an easy time with American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-2 to advance.
“The beginning of the match was kind of close and then I think 3-All, when I managed to make the break, and saved a breakpoint in the next game, I thought that was the turnaround, the turning point in the match,” said Djokovic.
“I thought the second set I read his serve better and just managed to put an extra ball in to the court and he made a lot of unforced errors. And I don’t think he was playing at his best today. But I think it was a solid opening match for me in the tournament.”
“I don’t think he was playing at his best today,” Djokovic said. “But I think it was a solid opening match for me in the tournament.”
David Ferrer who will be retiring from tennis after this tournament, kept his career alive, with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Roberto Bautista Agut. The win sets up a second-round contest against 3rd seed Alexander Zverev, the defending champion. The 37-year-old Ferrer defeated Zverev earlier in the clay court season.
“The fact I beat him in the last match, I don’t know. It’s a difficult match ahead of me,” noted the Spaniard. “I don’t think about that. I’m trying to enjoy the moment I have right now. I try to win a match against a good friend and a very tough opponent. I want to be with my family and try to enjoy as much as possible the time that I have to play in this center court.
“And tomorrow I have another opportunity and I’ll go out there to try to enjoy every single feeling that I might experience out there.”
In women’s action, No. 1 Naomi Osaka defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-0 in the second round.
“I have played her before and I have practiced with her once before,” said the Japanese Osaka. “But it was a couple of years ago. But, yeah, I remember that she of course runs really well. And I feel like her game is quite suited for clay. So, I actually knew it was going to be a hard match. I wanted it not to be. But I knew it was going to be.”
“I feel like in the first set, I got a bit lucky there,” she continued.
“And then in the second set, I just got up and then I just got a little bit unfocussed.
“And then in the third set, I just, like, went zombie mode and then just thought of everything that I had to do to win and not necessarily the outcome, but just like the little things in between every game.”
Third seed Simona Halep beat Johanna Konta 7-5, 6-1.
“I feel good every time when I come to Madrid and I’m happy to be back and winning matches,” Halep said during her news conference. “Yeah, it’s a special place for me. Many friends are coming.”
“So today I think it was a good match. Both of us played very well and, in the end, I was a bit stronger mentally and I found a rhythm. So it was a good day and it is a good tournament for me always.”
Angelique Kerber, who was seeded fourth had to withdraw from the tournament ahead of her match against Petra Martic, due to a right ankle injury.
“I twisted it this morning during my practice and yeah, I think it’s not too serious,” the German explained. “But yeah, I’m not able to give today everything and that’s why, yeah, I decide to be safe for the rest of the clay court season.”