Djokovic advances to 3rd round in Madrid Open

Djokovic advances to 3rd round in Madrid Open

Djokovic advances to 3rd round in Madrid Open

It was Djokovic's first match since splitting with longtime coach Marian Vajda.

Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 50th time (Picture: EPA/ Rex)Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet for the 50th time in one of the fiercest and most competitive rivalries tennis has ever seen. "Eventually the game will come together".

And the 12-time Grand Slam champion applied just enough pressure at the right time to break Lopez's serve in the final game of both sets.

He pulled back an initial break with three straight games and broke again to take the first set, 6-4. How Dimitrov would then rue yet more missed chances, only he would know, but he took a 6-3 lead, three match points, only to face some of Thiem's best serving, 6-6. Nadal received a first-round bye.

Showing more emotion in this game than he had for much of the match, Djokovic endured a time violation warning to work through a tricky hold for 5-6. "I was enjoying very much".

Curling a running forehand victor, Lopez issued a love hold for 3-all.

"We had to hit very close to the line to win the points", said Nadal, who is trying to win his third consecutive title after victories in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. "I don't really think about that match anymore to be honest". He has an ability to score big and beat Rafael Nadal.

Kei Nishikori recovered from a awful start to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 and faces David Ferrer next.

Nadal was also taken to three sets before seeing off Fabio Fognini.

Kuznetsova will face the victor of an intriguing clash between top seed Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard, who dumped out Maria Sharapova in thrilling fashion on Monday.

The Canadian was 6-3, 5-0 up when Kerber, the world number two, ended the contest after picking up an injury. I mean, I just haven't been in the general gist of being a tennis player. "It was uncomfortable. It was a really terrible was really windy", Nadal said.

Novak Djokovic will play in only his second semi-final of the season at the Madrid Open after Kei Nishikori withdrew due to injury ahead of their last-eight encounter.

"It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history", Nadal said. "I was young, I was playing Rafa on what I think is his worst surface - he's won Wimbledon before but it's by far his worst surface", the Aussie said, via Sport 360. "I can not promise to play or pull out right now".

Nadal will face holder Djokovic - a walkover victor against Kei Nishikori - next as he bids for a fifth title at the ATP Masters 1000 event in his home capital.

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