Rafael Nadal opened his bid for a sixth Barcelona Open title with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Wednesday.
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The top-ranked Nadal hammered his fellow Spaniard with hard groundstrokes, cruising to victory after breaking Gimeno-Traver’s first two service games.
”The first days of a tournament are always dangerous. But I feel fine,” Nadal said. ”It was not one of those matches that pushed you to your limits.”
Nadal, who sat out last year’s event after winning five straight titles from 2005-09, will face Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in the third round of the outdoor clay-court event.
”(Giraldo) is very aggressive and one of the most dangerous players on the circuit,” said Nadal, who has beaten his upcoming opponent in straight sets in their previous two meetings.
”The match against (Giraldo) last year was hard. Tomorrow I have to play solid and be as aggressive as I can.”
Robin Soderling’s disappointing run continued as the fifth-ranked Swede was comfortably beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Croatian Ivan Dodig in his first clay-court match of the year.
Soderling, last year’s finalist, went out in the third round of the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami last month.
Dodig, who won his first title at Zagreb earlier this year, goes on to face 15th seed Milos Raonic. The Canadian beat Germany’s Simon Greul 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5).
Earlier, fourth-seeded David Ferrer made quick work of Carlos Berlocq of Argentina to win 6-2, 6-2 and will meet Victor Hanescu, after the Romanian beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-4.
Two-time finalist Ferrer saved all four break points he faced, despite not serving well.
”I think I began a little more nervous than usual, but that is logical since it is the first match,” Ferrer said. ”Fortunately I was able to handle it and I hope to do better tomorrow.”
Ninth-seeded Richard Gasquet outlasted Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to set up an all-French clash with seventh-seeded Gael Monfils.
Sixth-seeded Jurgen Melzer trounced Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-1, 6-3 and will face Albert Montanes, who rallied to oust Benoit Paire of France 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-4.
At 2-1 in the first set, Melzer asked for a doctor to check his pulse, but he continued to play and won the next three games.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2001 champion, downed German lucky loser Mischa Zverev, who took the place of the injured Andy Murray, 6-4, 7-5.
The former top-ranked player hit three aces in his second match since returning to the court after undergoing wrist and knee surgery in October.
”I was a little worse physically due to being tired from yesterday, but I held up well,” said Ferrero, who will play Simone Vagnozzi in the next round after the Italian bounced Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.
Feliciano Lopez defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 and will play Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who beat lucky loser Rui Machado of Portugal 6-1, 6-4.