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Nadal off to blistering start in Barcelona

ESPN staff
April 25, 2012 « Ramprakash cracks under pitch strain | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal is bidding for a seventh title in Barcelona © PA Photos
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Rafael Nadal's French Open preparations gathered momentum as the world No. 2 wasted little time in dispatching Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at the Barcelona Open.

Nadal, who claimed his first title in over 10 months at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, booked his place in the third round with a 6-1 6-2 victory.

The Spaniard only returned to training a fortnight ago after recovering from a knee injury, but as he bids to win a seventh title in Barcelona, Nadal looked at ease on the clay as he made immediate inroads, breaking his opponent in his opening service game.

Nadal broke once again for a 4-1 lead before grabbing a third to wrap up the opening set inside half an hour. He tightened his grip by streaking to a 4-0 lead in the second set, and although he suffered a temporary hiccup as he dropped his serve, he never looked in danger of defeat as he strolled to a comfortable victory.

David Ferrer, who lost to Nadal in last year's final, got his French Open preparations back on track as he powered to a 6-0 6-3 win over Filip Krajinovic. Ferrer, a three-time finalist in Barcelona, appeared to be struggling with a shoulder injury as he suffered a shock defeat to Thomaz Bellucci in Monte Carlo last week, but shrugged off concerns over his form as he raced to victory in under an hour.

Next up for Ferrer is compatriot Albert Montanes after the Spaniard's clay court guile proved too much for No. 15 seed Bernard Tomic as the Australian bowed with a 6-0 5-7 7-5 defeat.

Second seed Andy Murray will meet Santiago Giraldo in the third round after the Colombian beat Robin Haase 6-4 6-3. Murray, who beat Sergiy Stakhovsky in his opening match on Tuesday, will face the clay-court specialist for the first time in his career.

Milos Raonic needed just 74 minutes to book his place in the third round with a 6-4 6-1 win over Igor Andreev, while Kei Nishikori was forced to dig deep for a 6-3 4-6 6-0 win over Mikhail Kukushkin. No. 13 seed Kevin Anderson also advanced after he overcame Federico Delbonis 7-6(5) 7-6(5).

Later in the day the clash between Feliciano Lopez and Flavio Cipolla went the way of the Spaniard, who triumphed 6-4 6-3. And fifth seed Janko Tipsarevic also progressed in straight sets, beating Victor Hanescu 7-5 6-4.

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