Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal makes winning start
World No1 eases through to round three with a comfortable win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver
Rafael Nadal began his quest for a sixth Barcelona Open title with a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 second-round win over fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
The world No1 cruised through in just over an hour and continues his supreme run on the dirt. Having won last week’s Monte Carlo Masters, Nadal is now unbeaten in 27 matches on clay since losing to Robin Soderling at Roland Garros in 2009.
The 24-year-old is once again threatening to break records this week, aiming to become the second-youngest player ever to reach 500 singles match victories on the ATP tour, just behind Bjorn Borg.
Nadal notched up his 497th singles career win today and a run to the Barcelona final would see him etch his name in the history books once again. Next up for the Spaniard is Columbian Santiago Giraldo in the third round.
The surprise of the day was world No5 Robin Soderling’s exit in his first match on the clay this season, the Swede losing 6-2 6-4 to Ivan Dodig.
Elsewhere, sixth seed Jurgen Melzer booked his place in round three with a 6-1 6-3 win over local Marcel Granollers.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori is hoping a solid run in Barcelona can propel him to become the highest-ranked Japanese player of all time. He is currently No48, two places behind Shuzo Matsuoka’s career-high benchmark achieved in 1992, and a 6-1 6-4 win over Rui Machado means his ranking is almost certain to rise next week.
Nishikori will next play Spain’s Feliciano LÃƒÂ³pez, who defeated 12th seed and countryman Guillermo GarcÃƒÂa LÃƒÂ³pez 6-7 6-3 6-4.
Another Spaniard David Ferrer continued his fantastic form with a crushing 6-2 6-2 victory over Carlos Berlocq.
Meanwhile, 2001 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero beat German Mischa Zverev, who replaced the injured Andy Murray in the draw. The Spaniard prevailed 6-4 7-5 in what was his first tournament since last September’s US Open after struggling with a knee injury.
Nikolay Davydenko managed to keep up his resurgence in form with a 6-2 7-6 win over Ãƒ”°douard Roger-Vasselin, while Richard Gasquet fought past Blaz Kavcic 6-3 4-6 6-2.
And as the sun set in Spain, Canadian youngster Milos Raonic was pushed all the way in a 6-3 4-6 7-6 victory over Simon Gruel.