Nadal Opens Home Campaign In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal (photo: Brigitte Urban)

BARCELONA, April 25, 2018

After a tremendous run to his 11th title in Monte-Carlo, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal arrives at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell — where there is a court named after him — to try to win his 11th trophy at the ATP World Tour 500-level tournament. After a first round bye, the defending champion opened his home campaign on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballés-Baena.

Nadal won 54 per cent of the total points played, outpointing his opponent 68-59 in one hour and 51 minutes.

“It was a match against an opponent, who I’ve never played before. The match has started in a complicated way with some errors but I finished it in a very good way,” Nadal told.

Next up for Nadal will be Guillermo Garcia-López of Spain, who benefited from the retirement of Kei Nishikori after the end of the first set leading 6-3.

Martin Klizan upset No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic, who took a wild card to enter the main draw in Barcelona for the first time since 2006, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. The World No. 140 from Slovakia capitalized on all of his three break points to prevail after one hour and 39 minutes.

“I did make some changes, I had to when I was injured. After surgery this mind changed affect my game. I played the best that I can play. It is not always possible to deliver what you are intended to. I only played a good level of tennis in the second set,” Djokovic commented.

“It’s tough to deal with this kind of loss. I will try to keep on going and see where it takes me.”

Klizan, a semi-finalist here in 2015, will next challenge No. 12 seed Feliciano López of Spain.

“I didn’ t expect to win, he is coming from bad times and bad injuries. But the is still Novak, he is a great player. It was tough. I played three matches, two matches in a row, so I was a little bit tired but I was ready for the match and able to fight. I’ m very happy, I just want to wish all the best to Novak. I hope he is going to come back stronger next weeks,” Klizan said.

Grigor Dimitrov eased past French veteran Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1. The tournament’s No. 2 from Bulgaria saved all three break points he faced, converting four of his own to advance in one hour and 22 minutes. Dimitrov will next face Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.

No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem also advanced to the third round, beating #NextGenATP Spaniard Jaume Munar 7-6, 6-1. 24-year-old Austrian only struggled in the opening set, where he had to save one set point in the tie-break but eventually prevailed after one hour and 29 minutes. Thiem will next play lucky loser Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia.