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Canada’s Shapovalov advances to 2nd round at Madrid Open with win over Humbert

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov is through to the second round of the Madrid Open with a 7-6 (1), 6-3 win over France’s Ugo Humbert on Monday.

Shapovalov, seeded 14th in Madrid, defended all nine break points he faced and cashed in on his lone chance to break, coming in the second set.

That proved to be the difference in an otherwise even match. Shapovalov won 53 per cent of total points, giving up a few percentage points on serve to Humbert and performing slightly better on returns.

With the win, Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., improved his career record over Humbert to 3-1.

Shapovalov will next face Britain’s Andy Murray. The former world No. 1 beat former No. 3 Dominic Thiem.

Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded eighth in Madrid, has a bye to the second round.

WATCH | Shapovalov defeats Humbert in 1st round:

Denis Shapovalov defeats Ugo Humbert in 1st round of Madrid Open

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., knocked off France’s Ugo Humbert in the opening round of the Madrid Open in straight sets. 1:34

Murray celebrates win over Thiem in return to clay

The moment the ball hit the net on match point, Murray turned to his team and started celebrating profusely, jumping, pumping his fists and yelling.

It was clear it meant more than just another first-round win.

In his first match on clay in nearly two years, Murray defeated Thiem 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday. It was his first win on clay since 2017.

Playing as a wild card after changing his mind on participating in the clay-court season, the former No. 1 broke Thiem once in each set and made only 13 unforced errors on centre court.

Murray won the Madrid title in 2008 and 2015. He hadn’t played in the Spanish capital since 2017, the year he was ranked No. 1 for the last time. He also was a finalist in Madrid in 2016, losing to Novak Djokovic.

Thiem, who was a finalist in Madrid in 2017-18, has been recovering from a wrist injury that sidelined him for eight months. He never found his rhythm against Murray and ended with 33 unforced errors.

Halep overpowers Gauff

Simona Halep continued to impress in Madrid by overpowering American teenager Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-4 to make the quarter-finals.

A two-time Madrid Open champion, Halep upset No. 2-ranked Paula Badosa in the second round.

The 21st-ranked Halep converted three of her five break opportunities to close out the centre-court match against 16th-ranked Gauff. She rallied from a break down in the second set, winning the last five games.

Halep won in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, and was runner-up in 2014 and 2019. She has 30 main draw wins, behind only the 31 she has at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Halep will face eighth-seeded Ons Jabeur, who defeated Belinda Bencic 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a match interrupted by rain after the second set.

The 10th-ranked Jabeur, the only top-10 woman left in the draw, lost to Bencic at this stage in Madrid last year, and also in the final in Charleston last month.

Sinner tops Paul

On the men’s side, Jannik Sinner saved three match points in beating Tommy Paul 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3. The American squandered two match points on serve at 5-3 in the second set, and another while trying to break at 6-5.

The Italian next has Alex de Minaur, who beat Pedro Martinez 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-3.

Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets to set up an encounter with Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who already has three titles this season: Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona.

The 18-year-old Alcaraz has been attracting as much attention as Rafael Nadal, who is expected to make his return from injury on Wednesday.

The practice courts were packed at the Caja Magica tennis complex on Monday when Alcaraz trained with Djokovic.

The top-ranked Djokovic is scheduled to debut on Tuesday against Gael Monfils.

WATCH | Andreescu cruises into 3rd round in Madrid:

Bianca Andreescu with a dominant performance at the Madrid Open

Bianca Andreescu, with a dominant performance, defeats world #8 Danielle Collins 6-1,6-1 in the second round of the Madrid Open. 1:40

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