MADRID: Novak Djokovic stepped up his preparations for the French Open as the top seed beat teenager Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in his opening match at the Madrid Masters on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The world No.1, who lifted the trophy in the Spanish capital five years ago, has not played in Madrid since 2013 when he lost his opening match to Grigor Dimitrov.
The Serb’s success over Croatian youngster Coric was his first clay win of 2016 following a loss in Monte Carlo to Jiri Vesely almost a month ago.
“Second match on the clay-court season for me — the first one didn’t go so well for me,” Djokovic said. “I had some time to recuperate emotionally and mentally.
“I needed that more than physically because it has been a very successful but very demanding start of the season, first four months. I played a lot of matches.”
Djokovic will next face Spanish specialist Roberto Bautista Agut after the 15th seed defeated fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios dumped out 2013 finalist Stan Wawrinka, with the Australian seeing off the Swiss 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/2) in the second round.
Wawrinka, the fourth seed, managed 11 aces but was unable to break the Kyrgios serve while losing his own four times.
Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori was helped by a collapse from Fabio Fognini as the Italian served for victory — Asia’s top player completed a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 fightback win.
Czech eighth seed Tomas Berdych showed fitness after a stomach virus, advancing over Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, while world number nine David Ferrer beat Denis Kudla 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
French 16th seed Gilles Simon will line up against Andy Murray in the next round on Wednesday after a defeat of Estoril finalist Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.