BARCELONA, April 18, 2015
The Barcelona Banc Sabadell Open is the fifth ATP World Tour 500 event of the season and occupies an important slot in the calendar, immediately following Monte Carlo’s Masters 1000 at the beginning of the springtime European clay season.
The historic event also holds great importance in Spain since it is held at the country’s oldest – established in 1899 – and one of the most exclusive tennis clubs tucked away in a leafy suburb of Barcelona. First held in 1953, it also one of the nation’s oldest tennis tournaments. The Trofeo Conde de Godó has been dominated by Spaniards in recent years with Rafael Nadal claiming eight titles in the last ten years (2005-2009 and 2011-2013). Fernando Verdasco emerged victorious in 2010 and Kei Nishikori is the last year’s winner. By capturing the title in 2014 the Japanese has become the first non-Spaniard champion since Gaston Gaudio in 2002.
Nishikori looks to retain his title in Barcelona, where he beat Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-2 in last year’s final. The world number four will look to take his second tour-level title this season, having claimed the crown in Memphis in February. The 25-year-old will be the top-seed of the 48-man-draw and receives a bye in the first round meeting the winner of the encounter between Teymuraz Gabashvili and Pablo Carreῆo-Busta in his opening match. The Spaniard, originally from the northern part of Spain born in Gijón, practices at the Barcelona Tennis Club and played his first ATP World Tour main draw match here back in 2011.
Rafael Nadal is looking to lift his ninth trophy. The Spanish world number five lost in last year’s quarterfinal to Nicolas Almagro and could meet his compatriot in his 2015 opening match again. Almagro, who dropped in rankings to 100th position due to an injury, will face Paolo Lorenzi in the first round leading 2-0 in head to head records.
Four-time finalist David Ferrer will bid to win his first title in Barcelona as the tournament’s third seed. Last year, the Spaniard suffered a second round defeat against Gabashvili and will take on the winner of Albert Montaῆés and Ricardas Berankis for his opening match.
Marin Cilic will be seeded fourth. The world number ten from Croatia will participate in his only second tournament of the season. The 26-year-old only played one match previously to Barcelona, which he lost to Juan Mónaco in Indian Wells. Cilic will face the winner of the “battle of the generations” when 34-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos takes on 13 years younger Dominic Thiem for the first time on the tour.
Two of the four main draw wild cards were granted to locals. Albert Montaῆés and Roberto Carballés-Baena received an invitation along with world number 34 Nick Kyrgios and Swedish talent Elias Ymer.