In-form Nadal advances in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal rebounded from an early break to beat Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-2 Wednesday, advancing to the third round of the Barcelona Open.

Nadal lost his serve to start the match but recovered in the following game of his opening match at the clay-court tournament.

“He started very aggressively, getting to every ball, taking the initiative,” Nadal said.

“It was very important to break him right back. After that, everything was a bit easier.”

The top-seeded Nadal had 16 break points, converting four of them.

He saved three break points against the 50th-ranked Granollers.

Seeking his ninth title at the Barcelona Open, Nadal will next play wild-card entry Albert Montanes, the 104th-ranked Spaniard who defeated 14th-seeded Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1 6-3.

Nadal has won all his three matches against Montanes, who is coming off a semifinal appearance in Morocco.

Nadal, ranked fifth in the world, won the Monte Carlo Masters last week for his first title of the year.

Two-time Barcelona Open champion Kei Nishikori advanced to the third round by beating Thiemo de Bakker 6-4 6-2. He broke the Dutchman’s serve three times.

“The conditions were tough for both of us because of the wind,” said the second-seeded Nishikori, who will next play 33rd-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France.

“But I played a solid match.”

Nishikori is trying to become the third player to win three consecutive titles at the Barcelona Open, joining Mats Wilander and Nadal. The 26-year-old Japanese player has won 11 straight matches at the tournament.

Also, eighth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia beat Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics 6-4 1-6 6-0 and 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 3-6 6-0 6-1.

Alexander Zverev of Germany beat 15th-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 and 10th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany eased to a 6-2 6-1 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!