ATP: Defending champ Alexander Zverev rallies for win at Madrid

Defending champion and No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev needed three sets to defeat Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The German defeated Cilic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours, 17 minutes on the clay surface.

“I thought I played very well. I just lost focus in the first set,” Zverev said. “But I am happy with the win and I am happy to be through. Marin is a difficult opponent, especially with the altitude here, so I am happy with this match.”

Zverev will next play Italian Lorenzo Musetti, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Sebastian Korda.

Third-seeded Rafael Nadal earned his first victory since March with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in one hour, 55 minutes. Nadal last played in the final at Indian Wells, where he lost to Taylor Fritz.

“It is a very tough first round,” Nadal said. “I think I managed it very well. I played at a good level, so (I am) very pleased with the victory. I just try to stay humble to know things (are) not going to be perfect here and just moving forward with the right determination, to accept that I need to fight, I need to stay positive.”

Nadal gets David Goffin in the Round of 16. The Belgian defeated Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-2.

Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas easily dispatched Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 6-4. The Greek posted seven aces and won 94 percent of his first serves.

“It was good magic, a fair amount of magic dust,” Tsitsipas said. “A great start at the beginning of this tournament.”

Things didn’t go as well for No. 5 seed Casper Ruud, who was bounced by Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7), 2-6, 6-4.

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Cristian Garin.

Tenth-seeded Jannik Sinner of Italy cruised past Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-1.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz outlasted Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) to advance.

Tuesday’s other winners included Grigor Dimitrov, who ousted No. 13 Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-3, and Daniel Evans, a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (2) winner over No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut.

–Field Level Media

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