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Jittery Nadal takes out Paire

ESPN staff
April 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal made progress in Barcelona, but it was not vintage © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal made it 36 wins on the spin at the Barcelona Open, but it was a far from convincing 7-6 (2) 6-2 win over Benoit Paire.

After losing his Monte Carlo Masters title to Novak Djokovic at the weekend, Nadal travelled to Barcelona looking to reassert his authority on the red clay. He was sidetracked by rain on Thursday and looked out of sorts early on against Paire.

He was broken early on, struggled on serve throughout and took a long time to find his range from the back of the court. With Paire teeing off at every opportunity, it was a struggle for Nadal but he settled into the game and powered through the second set.

Paire came out like a player with nothing to lose and hit with power from the outset. A deep backhand drew an error from Nadal which opened up two break points and he took the first when a short second serve from Nadal was slammed away for a clean winner.

Paire struggled on his own serve in his opening game and Nadal had a look at three break points, but the No. 2 seed failed to take any of them.

Nadal got on the board in the third game and despite Paire firing massive forehands, the Spaniard got back on level terms with a break in the sixth game.

Paire regrouped to take the set into a breaker, but he wilted as Nadal ran through six unanswered points to take the set.

The loss of the first set did not deter Paire who continued to come forward and he showed excellent touch at the net. But confidence was starting to run through Nadal and he worked a break in the fifth game.

Paire's final opening came and went in the sixth game, as he netted a backhand on break point and promptly slammed his racket into the ground in frustration.

Nadal did not pass up the gift and he closed out the match without wasting too much energy, which may prove vital as he will have to play his quarter-final later in the day.

Elsewhere,Tommy Robredo came from a set down to defeat third seed Tomas Berdych 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-3 and advance to the quarter-final. World No. 43 Robredo will now face Milos Raonic after the Canadian enjoyed a 6-2 7-6(6) victory over Ernests Gulbis.

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