Madrid, Spain – Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro was a hard-fought first-round winner 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.
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 and Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla.
Novak Djokovic beat Spanish hero and two-time Madrid champ Rafael Nadal in last year's finale. 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.
The 2012 Madrid Open champion will earn $770,000.