- ATP Tour
Nadal wins, Ferrer out in Barcelona
Defending champion Rafael Nadal collected a 35th consecutive win at the Barcelona Open, easing into the third round with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Carlos Berlocq.
There was further good news for the No. 2 seed as a shock defeat for David Ferrer opens up the possibility of a return to the world's top four in time for the French Open.
Having received a first-round bye, Nadal made the ideal start to his first match in Barcelona, breaking his Argentine opponent in the second game and opening up a 3-0 lead. A sloppy game while serving for the set at 5-3 put Berlocq back on terms, but the Spaniard raised the tempo to break straight back and claim the set.
Berlocq had taken Nadal to three sets shortly after his return to action in Sao Paulo, but the Spaniard is getting stronger by the match and made light work of the world No. 63 this time around, breaking in the fourth game to pull clear, breaking once more to seal the win.
Nadal will now face Benoit Paire for a place in the quarter-finals, after the French No. 13 seed defeated another Spaniard, Pablo Andujar, 6-4 5-7 6-3.
Earlier in the day, top seed Ferrer's French Open preparations were dealt a heavy blow as he was dumped out by an inspired Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 3-6 6-1.
The Spaniard, a four-time runner-up in Barcelona, skipped the Monte Carlo Masters with a thigh strain and looked out of sorts from the outset as qualifier Tursunov took his serve to task and broke in the third game
Ferrer was forced to break back twice to remain in touch but a third Tursunov break at 5-5 proved decisive as the Russian claimed a deserved first set.
Things got no better for the world No. 4 at the start of the second with Tursunov, ranked 66th in the world, breaking to love in the first game, but Ferrer turned the tables with a four-game run to take a 4-2 lead, soon taking the match into a decider.
Again Tursunov got off to the perfect start, breaking early to lead 2-0, but while Ferrer broke back his resistance quickly crumbled and the Russian surged clear to victory.
With Ferrer failing to defend the ranking points picked up in last year's final appearance, Nadal could now leapfrog his fellow Spaniard and return to the top four with final appearances in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, allowing him to avoid Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer until the semi-finals in Paris.
Tursunov will face Brazil's Thomasz Bellucci for a place in the quarter-finals.
Fifth seed Milos Raonic, a semi-finalist in Monte Carlo, extended his fine clay form with a routine 6-4 6-2 victory over France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the Canadian's huge serve helping him prevail in 70 minutes and set up a third-round showdown with Ernests Gulbis.
Tommy Robredo's resurgence continues with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Former Barcelona champion Robredo, who claimed his first title in two years in Casablanca, will face Tomas Berdych in the third round.
Juan Monaco needed just 20 minutes to take the first set against Bernard Tomic, handing the Australian his first bagel of the season while coasting to a 6-0 6-2 win, while 11th seed Martin Klizan saw off wild-card Albert Montanes 6-3 6-4 and Marcel Granollers beat Blaz Kavcic 6-3 6-1.