Refreshed Pouille ousts Goffin in Madrid, batman Mayer bows out
Lucas Pouille's stock continues to rise after the French qualifier saved four match points before beating 12th seed David Goffin in the first round of the Madrid Open on Monday.
Pouille reached his first ATP World Tour final at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy last month and dropped to his knees after winning a gripping contest with Belgian Goffin 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (9-7).
There were no other surprises, with David Ferrer among the seeds to progress on home soil along with the likes of Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic.
REFRESHED POUILLE BENEFITS FROM BREAK
Pouille withdrew from the Istanbul Open last week due to fatigue and appeared to benefit from that decision as he outlasted Goffin.
The world number 58 required mental strength as well as stamina to see off Goffin, with Pouille saving nine break points in a gutsy performance.
Goffin had three match points when leading 5-4 and another in the tie-break, but was unable to get the job done.
BATMAN MAYER HAS WINGS CLIPPED
There was an unscheduled break in play during Feliciano Lopez's victory over Leonardo Mayer when a bat landed on court.
Mayer took control of the situation by putting a towel over the fanged intruder and removing it from the court, but the Argentinian had his wings clipped as he was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4.
Lopez, a four-time quarter-finalist in Madrid, soared into the second round after firing down 14 aces in a hard-fought encounter to gain revenge for a defeat to Mayer in this tournament last year.
ASSURED START FOR RAONIC
Eleventh seed Raonic booked his place in round two with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat of Thomaz Bellucci.
The big-serving Canadian did not face a solitary break point against the Brazilian, who was brushed aside in the second set to fall at the first hurdle.
NADAL, MURRAY TAKE CENTRE STAGE
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray get their campaigns underway against Andrey Kuznetsov and Radek Stepanek respectively.
Murray is the defending champion after overcoming four-time winner Nadal in the final last year.