After a stunning loss last week in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal’s struggles continued in his opening match this after in Barcelona where he dropped the first set before rallying to beat Leonardo Mayer 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-2.
After jumping out to a 5-3 lead, Nadal couldn’t convert any of the three set points he held in the opener. But got into gear after that against the Argentine.
“It wasn’t the best start. Not the best feelings out there this afternoon, but I found a way to keep going and to win the match. Today that’s the main thing,” Nadal said. “[Mayer] competes well against everybody but probably today was not that he competed very well against me. I was not competing that well.”
Nadal’s 30-set win streak in Barcelona was snapped, but he still have never lost consecutive matches on clay at the tour level. Nadal will now face good friend and the retiring David Ferrer who blew past Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1/
“He’s a good friend, one of the best players that we have been watching the last 15 years. It’s going to be a special one, and he’s playing well,” said Nadal who leads Ferrer 25-6.
Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov’s recent struggles continued as both lost to Christian Garin and Guido Pella, respectively.
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced 6-3, 7-6 over Malek Jaziri. He’ll now face Kei Nishikori with a crack at his second career Top 10 win.
Monte Carlo semifinalist Daniil Medvedev was a winner Albert Ramos Vinolas and Grigor Dimitrov ousted Fernando Verdasco in three.
Also tomorrow, Dominic Thiem returns to take on young Spaniard Jaume Munar. Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev-conqueror Nicolas Jarry gets Dimitrov.
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