Almagro: Blue clay is slippery
Madrid - Spanish clay court specialist Nicolas Almagro did little on Monday to ease world No 1 Novak Djokovic's concerns about the controversial blue clay court at the Madrid Open after beating Santiago Giraldo 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 6-3.
Djokovic gets his first opportunity to play on the surface when he starts his title defence against qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday after a two-week layoff.
Eleventh seed Almagro came back to beat the Colombian qualifier for his 17th clay court win of the season, more than any other player on the ATP world tour this year, but was far from happy with the new courts.
"Being so close to Roland Garros, we would prefer to play on red clay. This surface isn't in the best of conditions," Almagro told reporters at Madrid's Magic Box Arena. "It is very slippery and I hope there aren't any injuries."
Djokovic lost to his great rival Rafael Nadal in his last outing in the final of the Monte Carlo Open in April but returns to a venue where he beat the world No 2 in last year's final.
He will play another Spaniard in the second round in Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who needed two hours and 24 minutes to see off fellow qualifier Victor Hanescu of Romania 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3 on Monday.
American wildcard Ryan Harrison was celebrating his 20th birthday on his debut at the tournament and beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5) to set up a meeting with fourth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Russian qualifier Igor Andreev overcame former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets and his compatriot Mikhail Youzhny progressed past Javier Marti.
Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis fell to wildcard Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 while Colombia's Alejandro Falla and Serb Viktor Troicki also went through.
Results from the ATP and WTA Madrid Open on Monday (x denotes seeding):Women
Petra Kvitova (CZE x3) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-2, 6-3
Serena Williams (USA x9) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS) 6-3, 6-1
Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) bt Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 6-1, 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) bt Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)
Lucie Hradecka (CZE) bt Peng Shuai (CHN) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Lucie Safarova (CZE) bt Kaia Kanepi (EST) 6-4, 6-4
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB x15) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Sara Errani (ITA) bt Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
4-6, 6-2, 6-3Second round
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) bt Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-4, 7-5
Samantha Stosur (AUS x5) bt Christina McHale (USA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0
Li Na (CHN x8) bt Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 6-3, 6-1
Angelique Kerber (GER x12) bt Venus Williams (USA) 6-4, 6-1Men
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) bt Javier Marti (ESP) 6-3, 6-2
Viktor Troicki (SRB) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/5)
Nicolas Almagro (ESP x11) bt Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3
Alejandro Falla (COL) bt Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
Igor Andreev (RUS) bt Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) bt Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4