Veteran Czech Radek Stepanek on Tuesday ended the Madrid Masters run 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.
"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."
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 controversial 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."
Source: AFP Global Edition