MADRID – Novak Djokovic needed just 65 minutes to make a winning start at the Madrid Open on Tuesday, hammering Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-2 to reach the third round.
The top seed and world number one broke three times as he schooled the American.
Djokovic won the Madrid title in 2011 and 2016.
He will be chasing a fourth straight Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros next month.
Third seed Roger Federer was making his clay return after two full seasons off the surface when he faced Frenchman Richard Gasquet later in the second round after a bye.
Unseeded treble Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka started his Madrid campaign with a 6-2 6-3 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert to move into the second round.
“It was a great first match. I’ve been good on the practice court, feeling really good, so it was important to start well today,” Wawrinka said.
“I hope my game is going to click soon. I’m patient enough to know that sometimes it takes time,” said the Swiss player, who underwent two knee surgeries in August 2017.
“I’m playing well and feeling well on the court. I still have some big results inside me, so hopefully they can come sooner than later.
“I’m ready to keep working the right way to get back in a better place and to win more matches, and hopefully get later in the tournament.”
Wawrinka will next play Argentine Guido Pella, who put out Barcelona finalist Daniil Medvedev 6-2 1-6 6-3.
In the women’s WTA draw, third seed and two-time champion Simona Halep of Romania ended the hopes of Johanna Konta 7-5 6-1 in the second round.
The Briton had made a dash to Madrid on Sunday evening after playing the Rabat clay final.
Konta won her opening match against Alison Riske, but could not match Halep, the defending French Open champion.
“I feel good every time when I come to Madrid, and I’m happy to be back and winning matches,” Halep said.
“It was a good match. Both of us played very well and, in the end, I was a bit stronger mentally and I found a rhythm.”
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber withdrew before her second-round match. The defending Wimbledon champion is suffering from a right ankle injury.
Kerber was to have played in the evening session against Croatian Petra Martic.AFP