Nadal to face Mayer in Barcelona opener

BARCELONA: Defending champion Rafael Nadal will face Leonardo Mayer in his first match at the Barcelona Open.


Mayer defeated Marius Copil 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5 in the first round on Monday. The 63rd-ranked Argentine saved all five break points he faced in a match lasting more than two and a half hours.

Second-ranked Nadal, an 11-time winner in Barcelona, opens play at the clay-court tournament on Wednesday after a first-round bye. He is coming off a loss to Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

“My personal opinion is that I played one of the worst matches on clay,” Nadal said in Barcelona. “It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. What has happened has happened.”

Fognini, the champion in Monte Carlo, will play either Nicola Kuhn or Federico Delbonis.

Home favourite Marcel Granollers was the main casualty on the opening day as the tournament got underway amidst murky, grey skies in Catalonia.

The Spaniard was beaten 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 by Chilean Nicolas Jarry, who will face second seed Alexander Zverev in the second round.

In first-round matches, new Madrid Masters tournament director Feliciano Lopez, playing as a wild card, lost to fellow Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-3 on the Rafa Nadal Court.

Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had to go through qualifying after missing the deadline to enter the main draw, came back from a set down to see off Japans Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. He will next play third-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics beat Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-1 to earn a match against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

American youngster Mackenzie McDonald beat Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2, 6-2, Spaniard Jaume Munar beat Portuguese qualifier Pedro Sousa2-6, 6-4, 6-0 and Taylor Fritz got past Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4 in a meeting of Americans.


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