Rafael Nadal forced to dig deep for win at the Barcelona Open
Rafael Nadal continues to look sluggish on clay with the Spaniard needing three sets to see off Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the Barcelona Open.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner stuttered at the Monte-Carlo Masters last week and eventually suffered a surprise semi-final defeat at the hands of Fabio Fognini.
He admitted afterwards that it was his “worst match on clay” and he is yet to find his feet on the red dirt this campaign after “too many ups and downs” in terms of injury.
However, he is nevertheless the favourite in Barcelona as he is looking for a 12th title.
He kicked off his campaign against Mayer on Wednesday, but he didn’t have it all his own way as the Argentine won the opening set before Nadal eventually ran away with a 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-2 win in two hours and 50 minutes.
Knock him down and he'll get straight back up 💪@RafaelNadal recovers from a set down to defeat Mayer 6-7 6-4 6-2 in Barcelona and set up a Round 3 meeting with David Ferrer! #bcnopenbs pic.twitter.com/7fdI6gWVRZ
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 24, 2019
After trading breaks midway through the first set, Mayer saved a couple of set points in the tie-breaker before edging to the one-set lead.
Nadal, though, hit back hard as he broke in game one of the second set and in games five and seven of the decider.
It will be an all-Spanish affair in the third round as he will face veteran David Ferrer, who beat 15th seed Lucas Pouille from France 6-3, 6-1.
Seventh seed Daniil Medvedev also required three sets to advance as the Russian beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 and he will take on Mackenzie McDonald for a place in the quarter-final after the American secured a 6-3, 6-1 win over 11th seed Gilles Simon.
Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime earned himself a clash against fourth seed Kei Nishikori as the Canadian beat Malek Jaziri 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).
More from Tennis365:
Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open due to lingering injury
The world number three said her “hamstring is still sore so I won’t have enough time to prepare for the clay”.
Coronavirus surge forces further restrictions on Roland Garros spectator numbers for French Open
Only 5,000 fans a day permitted.
Johanna Konta bagels Begu to march impressively into third round at Italian Open
The British number into round three.
‘I feel comfortable on clay, I always have,’ says Simona Halep as she targets Roland Garros repeat
Romanian happy to be back.
Novak Djokovic confirms he has spoken to ATP as he pushes ahead with Players Association plans
Serb says PTPA is misunderstood.
‘It was a great match – I am thrilled,’ says Jannik Sinner after youngster downs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Youngster making inroads.
Fed Cup rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup to recognise legend’s trailblazing role in tennis
The historic competition has a new name.