Djokovic battles through in Madrid

Tue, 08 May 19:44:00 2012

World number one Novak Djokovic was forced to work extremely hard to overcome Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2 2-6 6-3 and progress through to the third round of the Madrid Masters.

Novak Djokovic Madrid Masters - 0

Djokovic sealed his spot in the next round after a testing three sets on the controversial blue clay as he denied his doughty opponent on the Manolo Santana show court.

The top seed won the opening set with relative ease, but saw the scoreline reversed in the second as Gimeno-Traver raised his intensity and played with real confidence to level up the match before losing the decider.

In the only other second-round match to be played on Tuesday, sixth seed Tomas Berdych beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4 6-3.

The Czech will next face the winner of the second-round clash between Gael Monfils and Igor Andreev.

While Djokovic received a bye through to the second round, Gimeno-Traver - who had only won one ATP tour match this year prior to the tournament - had to overcome fellow qualifier Victor Hanescu of Romania 7-6 4-6 6-3 in his opening match, and it was a gruelling start for the Spaniard.

Djokovic held to love to get the match underway, before taking his opponent to deuce next game and providing an arduous test for the qualifier, who eventually held serve to establish himself in the opening set.

But Gimeno-Traver could not repel a barrage of pressure from his opponent in the fourth game of the match as Djokovic ruthlessly broke serve with a flurry of crushing groundstrokes.

The top seed consolidated his advantage and promptly cruised through the opening set without any real problems as every lengthy exchange occurred on the Spaniard’s serve.

But a rejuvenated Gimeno-Traver suddenly stamped his authority on proceedings with a stunning break of serve in the third game of the second set as Djokovic was punished for a touch of complacency.

The disgruntled Serb failed to find three first serves as his opponent clinically broke serve, with the Madrid crowd fervent in their support of the underdog, who looked suddenly buoyed by his resurgence.

It proved to be no fluke; Gimeno-Traver broke for a second time in successive Djokovic service games as he unleashed a torrent of blistering groundstrokes to establish a comfortable lead.

Indeed, Djokovic had no response as his opponent slammed an emphatic forehand down the line to hold serve and close out the second set to take it 6-2, and suddenly the Spaniard was back on terms in the match and brimming with confidence.

The world number one showed his displeasure with the blue clay surface and prompted whistles and boos from the Madrid crowd as he frequently remonstrated with the umpire during the course of the final set.

The final set was fiercely contested and finely poised until Gimeno-Traver finally caved into incessant pressure from the Serb, who broke serve after a seemingly interminable deuce to open up a 4-2 lead.

Gimeno-Traver forced his opponent to serve out for the match in typically determined fashion, but he could not stage a further resistance as the top seed secured his place in the next round.

Djokovic will next take on either Stanislas Wawrinka or Jurgen Melzer – who overcame 13th seed Feliciano Lopez - in the third round.

Dan Quarrell - follow on Twitter @Dan_Eurosport / Eurosport

Comment 2 - 22 of 22

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  1. let see how it will go with nadal on this blue clay­ when the two side meet in this madrid open

    From , on Wed 9 May 10:20
  2. John, I totally agree with you. I always count Murray­ as the 'big 4'. Hope he can win something big­ one day.

    From Mercury devil, on Wed 9 May 10:13
  3. Anna (20): Basically because Murray has been in the top­ 4 since 2008 . He has played 3 GS finals and has more­ than 20 titles, 8 of them Masters 1000 events. Thus ­ there is an enormous gap between him and the rest of­ the top 10 as far as achievement goes. Ferrer, the most­ consistent Nº. 5 in recent times, has not even got one­ Masters 1000. Tsonga has only played 1 GS final, which­ he lost easily, and that was 5 years ago. Murray has­ also beaten all the players above him at important­ events, and when there is a match between them he can­ never be counted out. These are the objective reasons.­ Apart from that there are subjective judgements based­ on his undoubted talent. Most commentators recognise­ that his ability is world class and he can play at GS­ level on hard surfaces. His main limitations seem to be­ mental in that he has not "turned up" on any­ of his 3 big occasions. But he is always a threat.

    From John, on Wed 9 May 9:23
  4. Surprised that he found it so hard to 'battle­ through.' This proves that even the top players­ can't have it all their own way on any given day.­ He will need to play better than this to win the title.

    From M, on Wed 9 May 8:36
  5. Can somebody explain to me why do you allways speak­ about "Big 4" when acctually there is only 3­ or them. Murreys results, game, mentality... are not­ at all in the sam catagory as the other threes. Or is­ it only here because it is British site? How did M.­ deserv to be count as Nole, Rafa and Federer? What did­ I miss - no offense, I am just asking...

    From Anna Vaghfeldt, on Wed 9 May 6:36
  6. Theres no such thing as a superman, anybody from top­ 100 on a good day could beat a top seed on their bad­ day. The only diference is that top four seeds are­ training a bit harder, they have a tiny bit more­ ability and confidence however on any given day you can­ have a surprise like today but do not expect it too­ often. Muray, Nadal and Djoko will if not injured be­ there for some time to come as grandpa Roger ia showing­ as a living example of things to come, enjoy but dont­ get discouraged

    From Dusan, on Wed 9 May 0:09

    From ., on Tue 8 May 23:50
  8. Congratulations to Novak for at least winning this­ match... It was not a convincing score-line whatever­ strategy he adopts... It is good to see that the others­ are not giving in when they face the top players... I­ guess Novak's opponents needed to be praised for­ putting in a fight. I guess he does not see himself as­ a doormat for Novak to trample on... and that needed to­ be appreciated. No one has an off-day. The minute any­ player shows are proving you are ready to win­ as soon as possible. Novak, I am sure would have­ thought it was going to be an easier match. It would­ be silly of him to walk on the court and not expect the­ opponents to put in a fight or say ...he was having an­ off day. It would be interesting to see what he comes­ up with for comments after all he had enough time to­ prepare for this tournament. Good luck to the others­ too. Hopefully we have very interesting and tough­ matches for the semi-finals and finals...

    From Dayo, on Tue 8 May 21:52
  9. everything is under control, no worry...

    From Heartland, on Tue 8 May 21:48
  10. Even a world number one can have an off day, but­ it's always a good thing to see new talent.

    From espspa2063, on Tue 8 May 21:34
  11. Good practice for Djoko.

    From EDDIE, on Tue 8 May 21:33
  12. Serbia is third world they don't have Eurosport...

    From , on Tue 8 May 21:24
  13. To comment no.5 this is British Eurosport not Serbian­ Eurosport so have some respect and use language most­ people here can understand. If not find another Tennis­ site.

    From MarshallTbon III, on Tue 8 May 21:12
  14. at the end of the day djokovic is nt looking as­ destructive on the clay this season as he did last year­ and to be fare he hasnt looked as unbeatable this­ season not trying to take too much away from him, still­ showing signs of his amazing game in there but­ something certainly is lacking from his form this­ season. Like I said we shall see what happens over the­ next couple of weeks and the build up to the french­ open as to what happens and whether djokovic is going­ to reach the final this year but then is his half of­ the draw is federer and both men havent played alot in­ the last few weeks so this for me will be an­ interesting rematch of last years semi final at roland­ garros and will give us a real insicte in to which one­ has the potential to go on the the final will be a huge­ mind game boost for both. As for nadal he still has­ davydenko to play yet so we shall seee what happens­ with him but hopeing nadal can come through and do­ something although he has complained about the blue­ clay we shall see what happens vamos nadal

    From nicholas, on Tue 8 May 20:59
  15. Not really convincing but good enough

    From , on Tue 8 May 20:53
  16. Not at all a convincing performance by Djoko, but he­ wrapped it up nicely in the end. Next match I guess­ he'll be more focussed and less troubled. Gimeno is­ no slouch on the clay and we owe him credit especially­ for the 2nd set. Will be very interesting to watch both­ Rafa and Roger when they step on to the blue clay.­ It's unusual but we see the ball very clearly, as­ opposed to red and grey clay.

    From HsSimon, on Tue 8 May 20:45
  17. Very easy he is ranked No1. He is simply the best!­ Right now, and for the RG. Today he needed some­ practice only.

    From Francisco Gere, on Tue 8 May 20:28

    From Igor K, on Tue 8 May 20:09
  19. After watching this match, I am pretty sure, that­ Djokovic is happy to be through, because he didnót look­ comfortable on the blue clay. All I care about is, that­ noone gets hurt before the French Open, and it could­ spoil things for the players, if they have to think­ more about that instead of playing well. What a shame­ if that is the case. Best of luck tomorrow for Roger­ and Rafa!

    From Tina, on Tue 8 May 20:01
  20. This blue 'clay' probably takes some getting­ used to. I'll be interested to hear Nole's­ post-match comments.

    From K12, on Tue 8 May 19:59
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