After falling in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters last week, Spanish native Rafael Nadal returns to his home country in hopes of defending his crown in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Nadal defeated his fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro in the singles final of the tournament last year, and looks to bounce back after his disappointing exit in Monte Carlo.
The tournament started up yesterday as the first round matches all took place, while the higher seeds enjoyed their byes and advancement into the second round. Top-seeded Nadal will match up with Alberto Ramos, another Spanish native, who defeated Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-4 in the first round clash.
While no opponent should be taken lightly, Nadal knows who is waiting for him in the finals if the tournament goes as expected. Another Spanish player, David Ferrer, is at the bottom of the bracket as the number two seed in the event. Ferrer will square off with Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili, who defeated Poland’s Michal Przysiezny 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
Nadal’s defeat in the Monte Carlo Masters came at the hands of David Ferrer, who beat his fellow countryman in straight sets 7-6(1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo. It was the first time Ferrer beat Nadal in over 10 years, and the two could potentially meet in this year’s finals. Ferrer has never won the tournament in Barcelona, but has gained much confidence since his victory over world number one Nadal last week.
Nadal enters the tournament hungrier than ever following a couple of early exits in his most recent tournaments, and is eager to bounce back.
“That is my intention,” said Nadal. “When one loses, you need to recover fast and this is based on training and more training. You have to find what it is you want to do and try to play well again.”
While Nadal and Ferrer are the favorites to meet up in the Barcelona finals, last year’s runner up Almagro and Italian Fabio Fognini pose stiff competition to make a run at the trophy as second round action begins today.