‘Armada’ sails in Barcelona
Nadal, Ferrer, Verdasco, Montañés, Ramos all reach round three
Rafael Nadal embarked on his attempt to win a second title of the clay court season at the Barcelona Open with a 6-1, 6-2 dismantling of fellow Spaniard Guillermo García-López. The world number two is bidding for his seventh triumph, having won at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona every year since 2005 — though injury prevented him from competing in 2010.
The reigning champion now has a 31-1 record at the ATP 500 tournament. In 2003, he lost to current Spain Davis Cup captain Àlex Corretja in round two. Nadal is the top seed at the event in the absence of Novak Djokovic, with Andy Murray second and David Ferrer, who lost in the final to Nadal in 2008, 2009 and 2011, third. Next up for the world number two will be the winner of the match between qualifier Robert Farah and 16th seed Pablo Andújar, who has risen to a career high 38 after his title success in Casablanca.
Albert Ramos, the defeated finalist in Morocco, is also riding high at 43 and blasted his way into round three in Barcelona with a 6-3, 7-5 win over France's Benoît Paire. The 17th seed will play rising Japanese star Kei Nishikori for a place in the fourth round.
Eternal bridesmaid Ferrer cruised through to his next engagement at the expense of Serbian whippersnapper Filip Krajinovic, winning 6-3, 6-0. Krajinovic is one of those players destined to become a Trivial Pursuit question; he beat Djokovic in the Belgrade quarterfinals in 2010, the only player to have defeated the world number one in his hometown — albeit through his opponent's retirement at a set down — shortly after which Krajinovic reached a career high 170.
"Winning Barcelona would be the culmination of my career," said Ferrer after the match. Standing in his immediate way is Albert Montañés, who scored the upset of the round in beating 15th seed Bernard Tomic. Montañés can be a difficult customer on clay but has suffered first round exits in four of five tournaments on the surface this year.
Fernando Verdasco, the only player to get his hands on the Godò Trophy other than Nadal in the last seven years, was in doubles action on Wednesday as he awaits the winner between Kevin Anderson and Steve Darcis. Verdasco and David Marrero ran the top-ranked Bryan brothers close in a 7-5, 2-6, 7-10 loss.