Tennis: Federer withdraws, Li Na, Sharapova advance in Madrid

MADRID (AFP) - Roger Federer became the second of the world's top four to pull out of the Madrid Masters on Tuesday as he has decided to stay at home with his wife Mirka as they await the birth of their third child.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion's withdrawal comes just two days after world number two Novak Djokovic also decided not to compete in the Spanish capital due to a wrist injury.

"I've decided to withdraw from Madrid to be with my wife Mirka during these next few exciting weeks for our family," he said on his official Facebook page.

"I apologise to my fans and hope to be back in Madrid next year. I'll be training near my home, and am excited to rejoin the Tour soon!"

Federer's withdrawal could benefit Wimbledon champion Andy Murray as the Scot is now the highest seeded player left in the second quarter of the draw.

Murray will face Nicolas Almagro in his first match at the Caja Magica on Wednesday after the Spaniard needed 11 match points to finally see off Kazakh qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-7 (9/11), 7-6 (7/4).

Fifth seed David Ferrer also needed three sets to overcome fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-3.

However, 13th seed Fabio Fognini was beaten 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 by Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and 14th seed Tommy Haas also suffered a first round exit at the hands of the Netherlands' Igor Sijsling 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

There is still plenty of star power on show in the women's Madrid Open as Li Na and Maria Sharapova moved into round three with wins on Tuesday.

Sharapova won her first tournament of the season on her return to clay in Stuttgart two weeks ago and looked in fine form as she raced through the first set 6-1.

However, McHale went onto take the second 6-4 and led 4-1 in the decider only for Sharapova to respond by reeling off five straight games to set up a meeting with 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur in the last 16.

The Russian, though, was still far from happy with her overall performance.

"After a really good start I didn't keep that level. I didn't keep doing what I was doing. I think I had a bit of a letdown," she said.

"I didn't create any chances for myself on her serves. I don't think I had a break point at all in that second set and I didn't have a breakpoint until I converted one in the third set.

"I don't feel like I was doing much off of my return and putting any pressure on her and letting her dictate from the first point. That was really getting me in trouble."

Earlier, Australian Open champion Li had a more simple task as she swept aside fellow Chinese Zheng Jie 6-2, 6-3.

Zheng led the head-to-head record between the two 4-3 before the match, but Li has now won the last four meetings between the pair in straight sets and will face 16th seed Sloane Stephens in the next round.