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Rafa Nadal Battles In Barcelona Tennis To Win In 3 Sets

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action during his second round match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina at the 67th Barcelona Open Trofeo Conde de Godo tennis tournament in Barcelona, Spain, 24 April 2019. EPA-EFE/ALEJANDRO GARCIA



Nadal battles in Barcelona opener, Garin and McDonald score upsets


By Ricky Dimon


Rafael Nadal seemed to have a hangover following his Monte-Carlo Masters semifinal loss to eventual champion Fabio Fognini, but he persevered through it to reach round three of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Wednesday afternoon. Nadal was nowhere near his best and needed two hours and 50 minutes to fend off Leonardo Mayer 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-2 in his tournament opener.


The second-ranked Spaniard failed to serve out the first set at 5-3, missed one set point with Mayer serving one game later, and squandered two more set points in the tiebreaker. He started to get on track in the second set before really picking up the pace throughout the third.


“It wasn’t the best start (to the event),” Nadal admitted. “Not the best feelings out there this afternoon, but I found a way to keep going and to win the match. Today that’s the main thing. [Mayer] competes well against everybody but probably today [the problem] was not that he competed very well against me. I was not competing that well.”


Still, the 32-year-old improved 59-3 lifetime in Barcelona while bidding for his 12th title. Next up for him on Thursday is countryman, good friend, and familiar foe David Ferrer. They will face each other for the 32nd time after Ferrer thrashed Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday.


“He’s a good friend,” Nadal said of the 37-year-old. “One of the best players that we have been watching the last 15 years. It’s going to be a special one, and he’s playing well.”


It could be their last one, as Ferrer is retiring at the upcoming Madrid Masters.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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