Nadal not feeling Madrid blues

Rafael Nadal had little problems dealing with Madrid's controversial new blue clay.

Story highlights

  • Rafael Nadal sweeps aside Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-2 at the Madrid Open
  • Second-ranked Nadal shows no weakness on Madrid's new blue clay
  • World No. 3 Roger Federer battles past Milos Raonic in his opening match
  • French Open champion Li Na sets up clash with world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka

Rafael Nadal easily progressed to the third round of the Madrid Open after beating Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets 6-2 6-2 on Wednesday.

It was the King of Clay's first work out on Madrid's controversial new blue clay surface but the world number two had little problem in dispensing with Davydenko in just over 80 minutes.

"I think that I played a really good match," he told the ATP Tour's official website after setting up a clash with fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

"It was my first match here in these circumstances. I am very happy about my result, about the way that I played."

His affable demeanor contrasted sharply with world number one Novak Djokovic, who had made tough work of beating Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2 3-6 6-2 on Tuesday.

Djokovic had plenty to say about the blue clay after a minor scare on his first competitive outing on the new surface.

Madrid's new blue clay court
Madrid's new blue clay court


    Madrid's new blue clay court


Madrid's new blue clay court 01:41
Blue clay prepared for Madrid Open
Blue clay prepared for Madrid Open


    Blue clay prepared for Madrid Open


Blue clay prepared for Madrid Open 00:40

The world No. 1 thought the players should have been consulted on Madrid's decision to depart from the traditional red clay and the Serbian cut a frustrated figure on court.

"It's impossible to move," he was quoted as telling reporters by AFP. "I hit maybe five balls, the rest went just trying to put the ball into the court.

"I was relying on serve and getting free points from his unforced errors. That was not tennis, either I need football shoes or some advice on how to play on this court.

"I cannot find the words to describe this court. It's really tough to play like this on a center court. We need serious discussion about the future of this blue clay.

"We cannot change anything this year, but my first impressions are not good. I don't want to be the one complaining, but I say honestly what I feel."

World No. 3 Roger Federer survived a big scare against rising star Milos Raonic in Wednesday's late match, finally triumphing 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) after more than two hours on court.

"I had a tough first set and one bad game that cost me the set really," said Federer, who won the event on hard court in 2006 and then in its first year on clay in 2009.

"He could swing big on my service games and I couldn't do that much on his, but I was getting more balls back as the match went on. I played a good tie-breaker overall."

Federer, playing his first match in five weeks following a third-round exit in Miami, will next play French 14th seed Richard Gasquet.

"It was pretty much a big struggle for me tonight but the level is pretty good and I'm happy where I am in the season," the 16-time grand slam champion said.

It was a big disappointment for world No. 23 Raonic, who dominated for large spells of the match with his booming serve and powerful groundstrokes.

"I felt like I was on top throughout the whole match," Raonic said. "I will probably be more happy with the whole outcome in a few days but now is not the right time."

In the women's draw in Madrid, French Open champion Li Na booked her quarterfinal place by beating Angelique Kerber of Germany 7-5 6-4.

Li broke the the German number two on three occasions as she continued her fine form on clay after reaching the quarterfinals of the Stuttgart Open last month.

China's leading player will next face world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, who beat former top-ranked Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-4 6-4.

U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australian also reached the last eight with a 6-3 6-2 win over Czech Petra Cetkovska.

Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska ended the 16-match clay court winning streak of Italy's Sara Errani in spectacular fashion with a 6-0 6-1 rout in their second-round match.