Aslan Karatsev opened his debut Mutua Madrid Open campaign on Monday with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Ugo Humbert.
In his first appearance since his run to the Serbia Open final in Belgrade (l. to Berrettini), the Russian struck 24 winners to reach the second round after one hour and 31 minutes. Karatsev, who entered 2021 with a 3-10 tour-level record, improved to 18-5 this season with his first win in the Spanish capital.
2021 ATP Tour Wins Leaderboard
A single break in each set proved the difference for Karatsev. The Dubai champion neutralised Humbert’s serve with consistent depth on his backhand returns and he turned points in his favour with forehand aggression. Karatsev converted his first match point with an ace out wide to move through to the second round.
Karatsev will meet seventh seed Diego Schwartzman for a place in the third round. The 27-year-old overcame Schwartzman in straight sets en route to the Australian Open semi-finals in February.