Madrid, Spain – Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro was a hard-fought first-round winner, while former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero came up a loser Monday at the $4 million Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour 1000 Masters event.
The 11th-seeded Almagro, the 2012 match wins leader on clay (17), came from behind to best Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3 on the unusual blue clay at The Magic Box.
The unseeded Ferrero, meanwhile, succumbed to oft-injured Russian Igor Andreev 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Spain's Ferrero is a former French Open champ and captured the Madrid title in 2003 when this event was staged on an indoor hardcourt.
Promising American Ryan Harrison, a wild card this week, snuck past Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5), while capable Serb Viktor Troicki held off American Donald Young 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 on Day 2.
The 19-year-old Harrison's second-round opponent will be world No. 5 Jo- Wilfried Tsonga of France.
Additional Monday wins came for former top-10 Russian Mikhail Youzhny, Spaniards Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, and Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla. Garcia-Lopez edged out former Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Novak Djokovic beat Spanish hero and two-time Madrid champ Rafael Nadal in last year's finale here. Djokovic, Nadal and two-time champ Roger Federer are the top seeds this week.
Nadal holds the record with 20 Masters titles, including one in Monte Carlo last month.
Djokovic will face Gimeno-Traver in the second round on Tuesday, while last week's Estoril Open winner Juan Martin del Potro will play a first-rounder against German Florian Mayer.
The 2012 Madrid Open champion will earn $770,000.