Alex de Minaur has defeated Pedro Martinez to move into the second round of the Madrid Open.
Australia’s No.1, who reached the final of the Barcelona Open in his last tournament, won 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 6-3.
The 23-year-old will now meet Jannik Sinner, the Italian world No. 12, who defeated Tommy Paul 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 after a gruelling match.
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The American squandered two match points on serve at 5-3 in the second set, and another while trying to break at 6-5.
De Minaur, ranked 22 himself after his performance in Barcelona, has lost his three previous meetings with Sinner, none of which were on clay.
He won fewer points than his Spanish opponent on Monday, but won more of the ones that mattered saving 71 per cent of break points on his own serve and winning 43 per cent those on Martinez’s.
De Minaur saved two set points in the 68-minute opening stanza before sweeping through the tie-break 7-2.
However, he held serve only once in the next set as Martinez levelled.
After surviving three break points in the opening game of the deciding set de Minaur broke three times in succession to take the final set, and the match in two hours, 45 minutes.
Wildcard Andy Murray beat Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4, the Austrian’s latest defeat since returning from a wrist injury which prevented him from defending his US Open crown last year.
Thiem, who spent eight months on the sidelines, was playing only his fourth match this year and the Austrian — winless in 2022 — was far from his best. He made 33 unforced errors, the majority of which came from his forehand.
Murray, who recovered from a hip surgery that nearly ended his career, said to Thiem at the net: “I’m glad to see you back. Keep going, it takes a lot of time but you’ll be fine.”
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, coming off his maiden Masters final in Monte Carlo, got past Lloyd Harris after breaking late in both sets of a 7-5 6-3 victory.
Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets to set up an encounter with Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who already has three titles this season: Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona.
After a first round bye top seed Novak Djokovic is scheduled to debut on Tuesday against French veteran Gael Monfils, who comfortably defeated Spaniard Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3 6-0.