Nadal ready to bounce back in Barcelona

Published by AAP

DETERMINED: Rafael Nadal is focused on improving his form in Barcelona this week; Getty Images
After a loss in Monte Carlo, world No.2 Rafael Nadal is determined to bounce back strongly in Barcelona.

Eleven-time winner Rafael Nadal is set to begin his title defence at the Barcelona Open against Leonardo Mayer.

Mayer moved into the second round after defeating Romanian Marius Copil 6-3 6-7(3) 7-5. The 63rd-ranked Argentine saved all five break points he faced in a match lasting more than two and a half hours.

After a first round bye, world No.2 Nadal will commence his week at the clay-court tournament on Wednesday. He is coming off a loss to Fabio Fognini in the semifinals of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo.

“My personal opinion is that I played (against Fognini) one of the worst matches on clay,” Nadal said in Barcelona.

“It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. What has happened has happened.”

Fognini, the champion in Monte Carlo, will play either wildcard Nicola Kuhn or qualifier Federico Delbonis, who meet on Tuesday.

NEWS: Fognini crowned Monte Carlo champion

World No.25 Diego Schwartzman, who had to go through qualifying after missing the deadline to enter the main draw, defeated Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 6-4 6-2.

The reward for the Argentine is a second-round match against third-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Marcel Granollers was beaten 7-5 4-6 6-4 by lucky loser Chilean Nicolas Jarry, who will face German second seed Alexander Zverev in the next round round.

In other opening round results, Fernando Verdasco defeated wildcard Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 in an all-Spanish affair and Taylor Fritz got past US compatriot Opelka Reilly 6-3 6-4. American Mackenzie McDonald was also a winner, beating Taro Daniel of Japan 6-2 6-2.

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