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Nadal beats Moya in first round of Rome Masters

Beating Carlos Moya in the first round of Rome Masters, Rafael Nadal marked his 48th consective win on clay.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 16:33 IST

Rafael Nadal cleared a major obstacle in his pursuit of Guillermo Vilas' Open era record 53-match winning streak on clay.

Nadal beat 2004 champion and mentor Carlos Moya 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in the first round of the Rome Masters on Tuesday for his 48th successive win on dirt.

Nadal will match Vilas if he retains the Rome title, and tie Bjorn Borg's record of 16 titles as a teenager.

He acknowledged Moya presented 'the worst first round' opponent possible.

"When you practice every day with one person, you know exactly his style. And he is one of the best players in the world on clay," said 19-year-old Nadal.

"When I lost the second set I saw the phantom of Miami," he added.

Moya beat Nadal in three sets in the first round at Key Biscayne in March.

A large Foro Italico crowd with high expectations of the clash between the two Mallorcans began to groan after Nadal won the first set and perked up when Moya forced a third.

Nadal broke for 2-0, and saved two break points at 4-2 to finally end Moya's resistance, and lead their head-to-head 3-2.

"That was a very important moment in the game," Nadal said.

He won't have the crowd on his side in the second round when he faces Italian No.1 Filippo Volandri, who beat Nadal in their only previous match three years ago.

Guillermo Coria, who lost last year's Rome final to Nadal over five sets, continued a season long slump in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to 93rd-ranked Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain.

First Published: May 10, 2006 16:33 IST