Third-seeded Dominic Thiem rolled to victory in less than an hour, while No. 6 Andrey Rublev had to rally from a set down Tuesday on the clay courts at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Rublev needed two hours, 19 minutes to defeat American Tommy Paul 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4. The Russian and world No. 7 struggledto control the ball but was able to grind out the win.
"It's important to win when you're not [playing] your [best] game and things are not going well," Rublev said afterward. "So it's really important to win this match to have more confidence. I'm happy that I turned it around."
Thiem, on the other hand, was sharp after playing in his first match in two months. The Austrian defeated American qualifier Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-3 in 57 minutes to cruise into the third round. Thiem made the finals at Madrid in both 2017 and 2018.
Thiem broke Giron's serve four times and did not face a break point. Thiem will next face Britain's Alex de Minaur, who defeated Lloyd Harris of South Africa 6-2, 3-0 with Harris retiring in the second set.
Thiem last played -- and lost to -- Harris at Dubai in mid-March.
In other second-round action, No. 8 seed Matteo Berrettini defeated Italian countryman Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4.
Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik upset 11th-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours, 19 minutes. Bublik took advantage of Shapovalov's 40 unforced errors and 14 double faults.
"I started on the same level as the other day, so it's not so much of my game not working. It's more mental," Shapovalov said. "Throwing in five doubles in one game, it's not like I don't know how to serve. It's completely mental."
In first-round action Tuesday, No. 9 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in two hours, 29 minutes.
Britain's John Millman toppled 12 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in two hours, 21 minutes.
Norway's Casper Ruud beat No. 15 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-1, 6-4.
Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) in two hours, 58 minutes.
Japan's Kei Nishikori downed Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2. Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan downed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4.
France's Benoit Paire beat Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 7-5.
Also, Britain's Alexei Popyrin defeated German Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets, Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat American Taylor Fritz in three sets, and 14th seed Jannik Sinner of Italy defeated Guido Pella when the Argentine retired at 4-4 of the second set.
--Field Level Media