Top seed Novak Djokovic failed to get to grips with the controversial blue clay of the Madrid Masters but still survived a struggle to reach the third round 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
World number one Djokovic, originally cautious in his comments about the experimental surface which has drawn fire but little praise so far from players, was unable to stay in check after playing his match.
"It's impossible to move. 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," he said.
"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 centre court.
"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.
"We need serious discussion about the future of this blue clay."
The Serb is playing for the first time since losing the Monte Carlo final to Rafael Nadal, the second seed here who has so far led the criticism against the blue look.
Veteran Czech Radek Stepanek ended the Madrid Masters hopes of Australian Bernard Tomic in the first round, with the Queensland youngster exiting 6-2, 7-5.
The 31st ranked Tomic, who reached a career-best first clay quarter-final last weekend in Munich, lost in less than 90 minutes on the blue clay of the Caja Magica.
He will now go into next week's Masters 1000 in Rome, the final major stop before the May 27 start of the French Open in Paris.
"I didn't play the right tennis the way I needed to," said Tomic.
"But full credit to him (Stepanek), he played a really good match. The blue clay was a bit strange for movement, it was slippery.
"I'm feeling good on clay and now I have three or four days to get ready for Rome. Hopefully I can play well there and win a few matches."
Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych advanced over South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3, paving the way for a trio of French seeds.
Number nine Gilles Simon beat Fabio Fognini 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-3 after playing his last match eight days ago in the Bucharest final against the Italian.
But Simon was scathing about the blue clay.
"I see no difference from last year, these have always been the worst court of the clay season. I could have sprained something practising," complained the Frenchman.
"There are other priorities ahead of making it blue - it should be better."
Gael Monfils, the number 12, returned after six weeks out with an abdominal injury and put out German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3.
Estoril finalist Richard Gasquet won a marathon in two and three-quarter hours against Thomaz Bellucci 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
Estoril champion Juan Martin del Potro eased past Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2.
The two leading women both reached the third round, with top seed Victoria Azarenka made to struggle by Czech Andrea Hlavackova before emerging 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) winner.
Second seed Maria Sharapova defeated another Czech in Klara Zakopalova 6-4, 6-3, firing 18 winners and breaking five times.
The Russian, whose match was started before 11:00 am (0900 GMT) due to the demands of television, said that a few days of training on the blue clay surface last week paid dividends.
"It's not so much about the colour. It does look good on television. But it plays a bit different. It's about the amount of clay on the court and the way it bounces," she said.
"You have to get used to it but I came here after winning Stuttgart and got in four or five days on it. I got settled in so it's just a matter of adjusting. It's also the same for everyone."
Number 13 Ana Ivanovic defeated Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-1.
AFPTags: tennis, sport, spain, australia First posted May 09, 2012 06:11:13