Just a month after beating Rafael Nadal in Miami, Fernando Verdasco was stunned today in Barcelona by 17-year-old qualifier Andrey Rublev 7-6(4), 6-3 in the opening round. It was the young Russian’s biggest career win, and fifth of his career on the ATP tour.
The No. 329-ranked Rublev moves on to face Fabio Fognini tomorrow. Rublev won the 2014 French Open juniors.
Verdasco won the Barcelona title in 2010.
Ruso, 17 años y con cara de niño.Ha dado la campanada en el Godó eliminando a Verdasco. Rublev no se lo podía creer. https://t.co/hTsd4e49no
— Tenis en CANAL+ (@teniscanalplus) April 21, 2015
Defending champion Kei Nishikori began his clay season in good form with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Teymuraz Gabashvili.
“I played a good two sets today,” said Nishikori. “It wasn’t easy for my first match on clay this year, but I served great. It’s always special to come back and defend the title here, where there is such great facilities.”
Tomorrow, 8-time champion Rafael Nadal returns to face countryman Nicolas Almagro. Almagro beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of Barcelona last year.
“Almagro is a great player and always a dangerous opponent,” said Nadal Monday. “I have to try to find my way, but it will be difficult against Nico.”
In an all-teen battle, Nick Kyrgios faces fellow 19-year-old Elias Ymer of Sweden.
Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also in action Wednesday in Barcelona.
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