Nadal Begins with Win; Gasquet, Soderling Upset at ATP Barcelona

Posted on April 22, 2009

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal began his quest for a fifth Barcelona title on Wednesday, easing past Portuguese qualifier Federico Gil 6-2, 6-2.

"In Miami I played pretty badly against him," said Nadal, who stretched his claycourt math win streak to 22. "Today I played a more serious match, without making any big changes. Last time we played I felt he could have won a set, but not today. Of course because I stayed focus. He's fighter and you need to be concentrated all the time in order to not let him get into the match and win a set. First rounds are always difficult because you need to adjust to the new conditions."

Christophe Rochus and Potito Starace were the upset-makers on the day, with the Belgian Rochus outlasting No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet in three sets, and the Italian Starace defeating No. 14 Robin Soderling in three.

Other seeds into the third round in straight sets were [2] Fernando Verdasco, [3] Nikolay Davydenko, [5] Fernando Gonzalez, [6] Tommy Robredo (d. [WC] Gaston Gaudio 7-6(6), 6-1), [7] David Nalbandian, [8] Stan Wawrinka, [9] Radek Stepanek, [10] Nicolas Almagro (d. Juan Ignacio Chela in three), [15] Tomas Berdych (d. Oscar Hernandez in three), and [16] Feliciano Lopez (d. [Q] Santiago Ventura in three).

Argentina's Juan Monaco was the lone winner in all-unseeded play, beating Spanish qualifier Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straights.

On Thursday's claycourt menu in Barcelona are Almagro vs. Nalbandian, Robredo vs. Andreev, Nadal vs. C.Rochus, Berdych vs. Verdasco, Stepanek vs. Wawrinka, Starace vs. Ferrer, Davydenko vs. F.Lopez, and Gonzalez vs. Monaco.