Nadal Rolls in Stuttgart

Posted on July 19, 2007

Top seed and 2005 champion Rafael Nadal, No. 3 Tomas Berdych, No. 6 Juan Carlos Ferrero and No. 8 Juan Monaco lead Thursday’s second round line-up in the top half of the draw. The foursome, along with No. 7 Juan Ignacio Chela in the bottom section of the draw, are the seeds remaining.

In the first match of the day, unseeded Austrian Stefan Koubek takes a 1-0 advantage against Monaco. Koubek won 7-6(5), 6-4, in the first round of Mumbai (on hard) in September last year. Koubek is looking to reach his third ATP quarterfinal (or better) this year, advancing to the final in Chennai (l. to Malisse) and quarterfinals in Memphis (l. to Murray).

Monaco is putting together a career-best season (25-12 record) with ATP titles in Buenos Aires (d. Di Mauro) and Poertschach (d. Monfils) and four other quarterfinals. He is also a personal-best 22-7 on clay.

In the second match, Diego Hartfield and Ferrero meet for the first time. The 26-year-old Hartfield is trying to reach his third ATP quarterfinal (or better) this season, having advanced to the semifinals in Buenos Aires (l. to Di Mauro) and quarterfinals in Poertschach (l. to Hewitt). The Argentine comes in with a 10-12 match record and ranked No. 87. Ferrero enters with a 26-15 record on the season and No. 17 ATP Ranking.

The 27-year-old Spaniard reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time in his last outing (d. No. 9 Blake, l. to Federer). On clay, he advanced to the final in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Canas), semifinals in Acapulco (l. to Moya) and quarterfinals at ATP Masters Series Monte-Carlo (l. to Federer).

In the third match, Nadal takes a 2-0 lifetime record (winning both this year) against German No.3 Kohlschreiber.

Kohlschreiber is compiling his best season on the ATP circuit with a 23-18 match record. He won his first career ATP title in Munich (d. Youzhny) and reached the semifinals in Halle (l. to Baghdatis). He also advanced to the quarterfinals in three other tournaments, including ATP Masters Series Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal).

Nadal is playing in his first clay court tournament since capturing his third straight Roland Garros crown on June 10. Since April 2005, he’s won 89 of his last 90 matches on clay, falling to No. 1 Roger Federer in the final of ATP Masters Series Hamburg on May 20.

Nadal enters with a 52-8 match record on the season (27-1 on clay) and an ATP-best five titles. In the final match, Berdych and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez meet for the third time (tied 1-1). In their last meeting in the first round at Roland Garros last year, Berdych won in straight sets.

The 21-year-old Berdych enters with a 31-14 match record on the season and No. 10 ATP Ranking. He won his first grass court title in Halle last month (d. Baghdatis) and followed with a Grand Slam-best quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon (l. to Nadal). Lopez is 14-14 on the year and he reached his lone ATP quarterfinal in Las Vegas in March (l. to Hewitt). (ATP Digital Services)