Nadal rallies to beat Mayer in 3 sets in Barcelona Open
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal recovered from a slow start to defeat Leonard Mayer 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2 and advance to the third round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, keeping alive his streak of never losing consecutive matches on clay.
The second-ranked Nadal was coming off defeat to Fabio Fognini in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Open last week.
An 11-time champion in Barcelona, Nadal will next play fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. The 37-year-old Ferrer, who is playing in Barcelona for the last time, defeated 15th-seeded Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-1 in his second-round match.
The top-seeded Nadal squandered three set points in the first set, including two in the tiebreaker after exchanging breaks late in the set. He rebounded quickly by breaking Mayer’s serve in the first game of the second set, then cruised to victory against the 63rd-ranked Argentine.
“It wasn’t the best start. 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,” Nadal said. “(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.”
Fognini won’t be able to add to his Monte Carlo win after withdrawing from the Barcelona tournament because of a hamstring injury. He was replaced by 104th-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena, who opened with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 win over Nicola Kuhn.
Seventh-seeded Daniil Medvedev reached the third round by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, while American Mackenzie McDonald advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over 11th-seeded Gilles Simon.
Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6 (7) to set up a third-round match against fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori.