Rafael Nadal Opens Bid For A Ninth Barcelona Title Wednesday
by Staff | April 19th, 2016, 11:34 pm

Reenergized from a Monte Carlo title – his biggest in almost two years – Rafael Nadal returns to his home country Wednesday seeking a ninth title in Barcelona.

Nadal opens play against countryman Marcel Granollers who he leads 3-0 in their series. And he comes off a ninth Monte Carlo title Sunday after consecutive wins over Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and then in the final Gael Monfils.

“I am very happy about the tournament in Monte Carlo,” said Nadal. “It’s one of the most important ones of the season. Yesterday was a great day. I played at a very high level during the entire week. But now I have to continue like this in the next tournaments.

“Athletes live for their victories. We have to fight hard to do well and achieve victories.

“The objective in 2016 is to be happy. I have to keep playing, but be happy above all. I am looking forward to the tournament.”

Nadal’s opposition includes Kei Nishikori who is going for a third straight Barcelona title.

“I want to win the tournament again,” said Nishikori, who faces either Thiemo de Bakker or wild card Elias Ymer in the second round. “This is my favourite tournament. The toughest 500 event, especially on clay, with all the Spanish players and Rafa in good shape. It will be a tough competition.

“I think Rafa is in great shape and he is playing great tennis again. It is going to be a tough match if Rafa and I play the final, but it will be a great week.”

Nishikori will face Thiemo de Bakker also on Wednesday.

One seed is already out. No. 5 Roberto Bautista Agut fell to little-known youngster Karen Khachanov. Benoit Paire, Jeremy Chardy and Alexander Dolgopolov advanced into the third round. Chardy would meet Nishikori on Thursday.

PISTA CENTRAL start 11:00 am
[15] T. Bellucci (BRA) vs A. Zverev (GER)
Not Before 1:30 pm
T. de Bakker (NED) vs [2] K. Nishikori (JPN)
[1] R. Nadal (ESP) vs M. Granollers (ESP)
I. Dodig (CRO) vs [7] F. Lopez (ESP)
A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs [9] P. Cuevas (URU)

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8 Comments for Rafael Nadal Opens Bid For A Ninth Barcelona Title Wednesday

Giles Says:

Vamos Champ!
Good luck!

J-Kath Says:

Rafa already looking good in Barcelona.
Kei thru to next round.

Grigor and Nicola split up….report says she’s wanting a baby and that she is still hopeful he will return.

Daniel Says:

Nadal, Kei and Fognini won. 1 more round for each and Nadal and Fognini could face off in Quarters. Curious to see if Fignini would still bother the more confiant Nadal.

Seems a Nadal x Kei final is most likely to happen, old king of Barcelona vs the new one.

RZ Says:

Most years I’ve felt that Rafa should skip Barcelona and not tire himself out for the post FO swing, but he probably wants to build on the momentum after Monte Carlo. Anyone know if he’s planning to play Madrid?

Daniel Says:

RZ, this is European Clay swing, Nadal will play everything😜

RZ Says:

@Daniel – I suspect that you are right.

Dave Says:

Nadal vs Fognini tomorrow. That should be a great match. This will really prove if Rafa is back or not. If he loses to Fognini, than anyone that can push Nadal from corner to corner with hard and flat groundstrokes consistently, can beat Nadal with his current style on any given day. If Nadal has shown a way to combat that with more aggression himself and his trademark defense, than he is truly back. We will get some answers after the match tomorrow for sure.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Dave, that’s based on the assumption that a strong Fognini plays tomorrow. History would suggest the odds are against that. Forget his wins against Rafa, the dude is seeded 12th at a 500 tourney.

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