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Rafael Nadal makes winning return to Barcelona

sports Updated: Apr 20, 2011 21:43 IST

AFP
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Five-time champion Rafael Nadal was barely troubled in a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Spanish compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver as the top-seeded king of clay returned victorious to the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.

Nadal polished his record for the season to 25-4 just 72 hours after defeating compatriot David Ferrer for an historic seventh straight trophy in Monte Carlo.

The world number one owns 30 titles on clay and is aiming to pick up where he left off in 2009 here when he won his fifth on the trot at the Real Club de Tenis. The run of home form was interrupted a year ago when he missed the tournament due to knee injury treatment.

Nadal needed 55 minutes to stroll into a third-round match against Colombian Santiago Giraldo, a winner against Albert Ramos 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The top seed has only ever lost once in the tennis-mad Catalan capital, earning 25 wins along the way.

Weekend finalist Ferrer also began with a victory, easing past 6-2, 6-2 over Argentine Carlos Berlocq. Ferrer has reached the semi-finals or better in Barcelona in each of the last four years.

He has a solid 22-5 win-loss record for the season and will now face Victor Hanescu of Romania, who put out South African 14th seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4.

A Spanish name from the past continued his injury comeback, with 2001 tournament champion Juan Carlos Ferrero belying the weight of his 31 years by advancing into the third round with a 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Mischa Zverev.

The defeated German replaced Andy Murray in the draw after the British world number four had to pull out due to the elbow injury he sustained in Monte Carlo last week.

Ferrero is playing for the first time since the US Open after undergoing wrist and knee surgery in October and expressed satisfaction with his fledgling form.

"I played better than yesterday, when I was starting to cramp at the end," said the former number one and 2003 US Open champion.

"Today I tried to be more aggressive but the body is still feeling it."

Ferrero earned another test with a Thursday match against Italian world number 186 Simone Vagnozzi, an upset winner over 16th seed Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Spanish 11th seed Albert Montanes beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-7 (3/7), 6-1, 6-4, while Japan's Kei Nishikori advanced past Rui Machado 6-1, 6-4.