Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has ensured he will retain his number one rank by extending his winning record against Gael Monfils with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Madrid.
Djokovic, who entered the competition 17-0 one-on-one against the Frenchman, needed a win in his second-round match on Tuesday to avoid dropping top spot to second-placed Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic, who is a three-time Madrid champion, is finding his groove, having competed little this season, but arrived in the Spanish capital after finishing second in his home tournament in Belgrade.
The Serb saved three break points in his first two service games before wresting control of the game from Monfils and taking a one-set lead in 47 minutes.
Djokovic had to save two break points as he served for the game before booking a last-16 showdown with Andy Murray or Canada’s 14th seed Denis Shapovalov.
Sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev survived a tough day at the Estadio Manolo Santana, having to rally from 0-3 up in the decider to beat British wildcard Jack Draper 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
The Russian world number eight, who beat Djokovic in the final in Belgrade last week, lost serve twice in the first set and lost an early advantage in the second before moving past southpaw Draper, who is ranked 121st in the world and made his debut on clay at the ATP in Madrid.
The two-hour, 19-minute battle featured a total of 63 winners, 34 of them on Rublev’s racquet.
Rublev is the co-leader – alongside Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz – on the ATP Tour this season with three titles.
Another top seed pushed to his limits was Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. The 12th seed fought for nearly three hours before earning a 7-5, 6-7 (11/13), 6-3 victory over Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien.
Hurkacz’s reward is a second-round date with in-form Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Meanwhile, former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu’s Madrid campaign ended at the hands of 12th seeded USA Jessica Pegula, 7-5, 6-1.
Andreescu served for the first set but was broken. She then had a nosebleed on the move to 6-5. The Canadian saved four set points on her serve in game 12 but faltered in the fifth as Pegula took the lead.
Despite a rain interruption in the second set, Pegula took the win in less than two hours and set up a quarter-final against local favorite Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Sorribes Tormo became just the fourth Spaniard to reach the last eight at the Madrid Open, navigating a tricky draw that saw her dispatch Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Naomi Osaka ahead of her 6-4, 1-6 victory , 6-3 over Daria Kasatkina on Tuesday. .