Montanes Sails Into Retirement

Albert Montanes after his last match as professional tennis player (photo: Brigitte Urban)

BARCELONA, April 26, 2017

The second round at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell concluded on Wednesday, highlighted by the return of nine-time champion and number three seed Rafael Nadal to the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899.

First up on Pista Nadal, however, was wild card Albert Montanes, taking on fellow Spaniard Feliciano López, who had a 3-1 head-to-head record before the match. Their first meeting was 13 years ago in Valencia where Montanes prevailed in three sets.

This time, however, the 16th seed from Madrid emerged victorious in straight sets, winning 6-2, 6-2 in 61 minutes. It was Montanes’ last match on the ATP World Tour, who made his debut here 16 years ago. The 36-year-old Catalan announced his retirement. Montanes is a six-time champion on the ATP World Tour and reached a career-high No. 22 on August 2, 2010.

Asked what was his best moment in his career, Montanes said his win over Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the 2010 Estoril. He eventually lifted the trophy of the ATP 250 event.

Next up for López will be world number one Andy Murray, who received a walkover into the third round, as Australian Bernard Tomic was forced to withdraw with a lower back injury.


Rafael Nadal

In the following match, local favourite Rafael Nadal opened his Barcelona campaign with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva. In the only previous meeting between the two, the Mallorca native dropped only three games in his second round win at the 2013 US Open.

Nadal entered Barcelona for the 13th time after capturing his first ATP World Tour title of the season in Monte-Carlo and for a record 10th time in Monaco, beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final.

It was also his Open Era record 50th clay court crown and 70th overall. Nadal appeared on the newly-named Pista Rafa Nadal for the first time, hitting 23 winners to prevail in one hour and 14 minutes.

“I want to thank the club for this honour. It’s one of the most important tournaments for me, one of the courts where I had the best moments of my career,” Nadal said on court after the second-round victory. “This place has meant a lot to me since forever, and [that] the club has decided to name the centre court with my name makes it even more special.”

Fifth seed David Goffin continued his great start on clay, moving into the third round with a 7-5, 6-0 victory against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. The 26-year-old from Belgium won 61 per cent of his second service points and broke serve seven times to prevail in one hour and 12 minutes. Goffin will next play ATP NextGen star Karen Khachanov from Russia.