A day after stunning 2010 champion Fernando Verdasco, youngster Andrey Rublev was at it again on the red clay courts of Barcelona, leading another former Top 15 player, Fabio Fognini. But a set a 2-0 lead in the second wasn’t enough as the Italian came back to end the 17-year-old’s run 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
The flashy Fognini now has a rematch with Rafael Nadal, who he beat in the semifinals at Rio in February. Nadal avenged a 2014 Barcelona loss to Nicolas Almagro, crushing his countryman 6-3, 6-1.
During Nadal’s match, a couple got engaged in the stands.
“I heard the crowd screaming a little bit, but I didn’t realise what was going on,” Nadal said.
Nadal is now 12-1 against Almagro, and he’s 4-1 against Fognini. And Rafa could run into David Ferrer. Today, Ferrer dispatched Albert Montanes. Next up is Elias Ymer.
In a battle of 19-year-olds, Ymer of Sweden took down the returning Nick Kyrgios 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(7) saving two matchpoints. The Australian was playing his first event since rolling his ankle at Indian Wells.
US Open champion Marin Cilic continued to struggle, falling to veteran Victor Estrella Burgos. Ernests Gulbis’s slump continued. He lost to Benoit Paire.
Marcel Granollers beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a mild upset.
Top seed Kei Nishikori also returns tomorrow against Santiago Giraldo.
In Bucharest, Ivo Karlovic ousted Borna Coric in three. Tomorrow Gilles Simon faces the returning Janko Tisparevic.
The women are in Stuttgart this week where Belinda Bencic, Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani and Zarina Diyas were first round winners. Errani ousted Aga Radwanska while Diyas handed Lisicki her first career double bagel, and that in front her home German crowd!
“Obviously, a first round match against Errani is not fun,” Radwanska said. “I think it was just a few points here and there that made the difference in the match. I had some chances and a few points that I just didn’t finish.”
Simona Halep won her second round match in three over Garbine Muguruza.
Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova who plays Kerber are the feature matches Thursday.
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