In-form Spaniard David Ferrer survived a tough opening match at the Madrid Open when he dropped the second set to French qualifier Adrian Mannarino before winning 7-5 0-6 6-0 in the second round on Tuesday.
Ferrer, seeded six for the clay event in the Spanish capital and runner-up to world number one and compatriot Rafa Nadal at last month’s Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open, will play Sergiy Stakhovsky for a place in the last 16.
Ukrainian Stakhovsky edged past big-serving American John Isner 7-5 4-6 7-6 earlier on Tuesday in a match featuring only one break of serve for each player.
Former world number four Juan Martin Del Potro continued his comeback from a wrist injury with a 6-1 3-6 6-3 first-round victory over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, the 13th seed, at the futuristic Magic Box arena.
Fifteenth seed Fernando Verdasco, another Spaniard, was upset 7-6 7-5 by unseeded Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, while local wildcard Marcel Granollers eliminated Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 6-2.
France’s Gilles Simon won a tight match against Croatian Ivan Ljubicic 7-5 7-6 to set up a second-round meeting on Wednesday with fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray.
Nadal, who was given the usual bye into the second round for the top eight seeds, opens his campaign against former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis on Wednesday.
Second and third seeds Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer play their opening matches against Kevin Anderson of South Africa and Spain’s Feliciano Lopez respectively on Wednesday.
Lopez ended the hopes of Canada’s Milos Raonic with a 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory on Tuesday, when Anderson saw off Belgium’s Olivier Rochus 6-2 6-4.