Nadal Wins, Gets Pass to SF; Nalbandian Withdraws
by Staff | April 23rd, 2009, 3:46 pm

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal crushed Christophe Rochus of Belgium 6-2, 6-0 to move into the quarterfinals and an anticipated meeting with David Nalbandian on Thursday at the Barcelona Open.
Unfortunately the meeting is not to be, as after Nalbandian won his match on Thursday, he withdrew from the event citing an injured hip.

It was the 22nd consecutive win for the 22-year-old who improved to 31-3 this year (9-0 on clay), and is looking to add to his Australian Open, Masters Indian Wells and Masters Monte Carlo titles.

Nadal is 140-4 on claycourts since 2005 and is 23-1 lifetime in claycourt finals.

Nalbandian beat Nicolas Almagro, the No. 10 seed, 6-3, 6-4, but has been bothered by inflammation of the right hip and aggravated the injury during the win.

Nadal now gets a pass into the semifinals, where he will face with Nikolay Davydenko or Radek Stepanek.

David Ferrer earned a spot in the quarters with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over Potito Starace. He will next meet fellow Spaniard and No. 6 seed Tommy Robredo who defeated No. 12 seed Igor Andreev 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

No. 19-ranked Radek “The Worm” Stepanek of the Czech Republic knocked out No. 12-ranked Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, and will next meet No. 3-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who outlasted No. 16 seed Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez of Spain 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-4.

Other winners Thursday were No. 2 seed Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco outlasting No. 15 Tomas Berdych in three sets, and No. 5 Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez beating unseeded Argentine Juan Monaco in straight sets.

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22 Comments for Nadal Wins, Gets Pass to SF; Nalbandian Withdraws

jane Says:

Daniel – can you believe it? Just when the match between Nadal and Nalbandian on clay was all lined up … and then the rug is pulled out from under us. Oi.

margot Says:

Bummer re Nadal v. Nalbandian! Hope Nlb fit for rest of clay.
jane: do you know why Andy’s not playing, would’ve thought he needed the practise. Too busy posing with Bex perhaps?

Daniel Says:


I still can’t believe it! When I read in the ATP site that Nadal was in semis I thought: jeez this guys are crazy, or am I crazy and lost a day?!

Well, it wasn´t meant to be in this tourney, this match requeires a final or RG. More hype!!

jane Says:

Daniel, maybe so! More hype but let’s hope we see it!

margot, I’d imagine Murray doesn’t want to overextend himself, since there are still the two big clay MS events, next week at Rome and the Madrid, before the French Open. But I am sure Murray is getting in some good practice with his clay man. Or maybe he’s entirely emboldened by his success and figures he can hang with the big boys on clay any day! :)

Kimmi Says:

How lucky can Nadal get. He wins everybody on clay and somebody gives him a bye to the semi. Well, they might as well give him the championship then…

zola Says:

Rafa has had his share of bad luck. Remember wimbledon 07, US Open 08, even Monte Carlo, when he had to wait all day and play two matches the next day..

but the real bad luck is Nalby’s. How does someone get hip inflammation? tennis is pretty harsh on the body. Hope he can be there at Rome and RG. I really want Rafa to level that H2H.

Kimmi Says:

Nalbandian is probably saving his H2H until he plays Rafa again in the indoor carpet at the end of the year. Now there, he would give himself a great chance.

funches Says:

I’m not buying Nalbandian’s hip injury for a second.

He’s a coward, but Nadal is so good on clay, he turns most of his opponents into cowards.

zola Says:

The tournament doctor released the report. Nalby can’t make it up!

I think Rafa’s losses to Nalby in Madrid and Paris was a key in his new game. I remember uncle Tony said something like, if Rafa wants to stay at the top he needs to be able to face Nalby’s challenge.
So I would like to see them indoors. If Rafa can win him, it will give him great confidence.

Kimmi Says:

Zola: Nadal has great confidence right now, he does not need to win Nalbandian to be up there.

He is got a postive H2H against almost everybody on tour so don’t worry. But Nalbandian play is owesome when he is on which is beautiful to see.
thats why a lot of people including myself were hoping to see this match-up. And I think Nalbandian loves to play the top players, he always try to bring his best game when playing them but loses to nobodies…strange ! Wish him the fastest recovery.

zola Says:

I do not worry about Rafa. That’s his business. He has a positive H2H against all top 25 except for Nalby and someone else ( I just forgot!)and as you said, when Nalby is on, he is really really dangerous. what I meant about confidence was that if Rafa can win him indoors, that will give him great confidence about his indoor/hard court game.

I enjoy watching Nalby. He can change directions and uses angles on court , it is great to watch. He is just not consistent. Yes, Nalby plays great against top players. Besides him and Rafa are playstation buddies so I am sure Rafa will miss him.

zinaldo Says:

Oh what a shame really, but can’t they just make rafa face almagro, and not give him an easy way to the semi, i know he would beat almagro but still.

Kroll Says:

A half-witted comment. If Nalby is not scared to lose to unseeded players( as he has been doing in recent times, …or since ever?) I dont see why he should be scared of losing to the world no. 1.

Though I doubt he had any chance here anyway. Hardcourts are obviously a different animal and Rafa’s game is certainly getting better on clay (compared to his relatively inconsistent performance at Monte Carlo).

“Besides him and Rafa are playstation buddies so I am sure Rafa will miss him.”

There Is such a thing as too much information! Besides, I think Rafa’s probably happy for the rest considering his upcoming monster of a schedule.

“Well, it wasn´t meant to be in this tourney, this match requeires a final or RG.”

Thats some serious overkill mate…

Jurasick Says:

I don’t understand how Nadal has won 22 consecutive. Are you talking about 22 wins in

sensationalsafin Says:

Blake’s the other guy with a winning record over Nadal.

zola Says:

Davydenko will play Rafa in one of tomorrow’s semis.

He has given Rafa some tough matches. I don’t think this will be an exception.

Ferrer is one set up against Robredo.

margot Says:

jane: re Andy M’s confidence, hope u r very, very wrong!
I think Davydenko is a terrific player, for a small skiny guy he doesn’t half wack the ball, just shows it’s not in the muscle it’s in the timing. Another one plagued by injury though.

jane Says:

margot – of course I was half kidding re; A.M’s confidence, as I am sure it was just a scheduling issue, but still…he has to have gained some belief after his great performance at MC last week!

Cindy_Brady Says:

I hope the Nadal/Davydenko encounter will be competitive. Don’t see how Davy can beat Rafa on red clay but stranger things have happened. Davydenko doesn’t have the weapontry to hurt Nadal. He will have to grind and hope Rafa makes errors. Not likely, though. Nadal will dictate with his heavy topspin, like always. Probably a straight sets win and breeze into the finals.

margot Says:

jane: also Andy did have blisters on his hand, don’t know whether he was ever scheduled to play at Barcelona.
Am watching Verdasco v Gonzales, it’s interesting, Gonzales has got a “top 3” forehand to quote goodall, but his backhand is just so average, wonder how you can ever get really, really good being so vulnerable on that side.

zola Says:


I remember Davydenko gave Rafa a very hard time in 2007. I think it was Rome semis. He moves very well and gets to all of Rafa’s shots. It will be a very interesting match. Rafa is playing better than MC. Of course he has not met a top 10 yet.But at least his serve was better than MC.

I think in one of his interviews in MC Andy said he wants to goive himself enough recovery time between tournaments and that’s why he is taking this week off.

I think it is a wise move. I wish Rafa did the same!

Kimmi Says:

This is something that always seem to make me wonder.

If clay is the surface that require some special play for someone to master it well then why the so-called clay court specialist other than Nadal ie Spanish, Latin american etc have always underperformed and lose early in major clay court tournaments (this is in the last 3/4 years or so)

Nadal has currently more challenge from the top 4 who majority of them prefer the other surfaces(Federer, Djokovic even Murray who I believe with a little more experience looks promising)

I would like to see these so-called clay court specialists really grind it out with Nadal and give us something exciting to see, still the odds would be against them because Nadal is the monster on clay but at least we might see a better contest.

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