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Davydenko Anticipates Nadal Match-Up

Madrid, Spain

Nikolay Davydenko will face World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open after starting proceedings at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Ivo Karlovic on Sunday. He fought off all six break points of serve and withstood 15 aces from the Croat’s racquet.

Davydenko leads Nadal 6-4 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head, after winning their past four meetings, but has an 0-3 record against the Spaniard on clay.

“He has less confidence against me on hard court; I have beaten him more times there,” acknowledged the Russian. “On the clay I have never beaten him. He is the best player on clay for sure. That's where he starts to fight and play different tennis. He runs different and it's very tough to beat him on clay.”

With the exception of two round robin matches at the circuit finale, this will be the first time that Davydenko and Nadal are meeting prior to a quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour event.

“For most players the first round is the most difficult,” said Davydenko. “It doesn't matter if it's Djokovic, Federer or Nadal. For all players it will be a different fight because for every match you are fighting, you start to feel more confident. In the semi-final or final it is much tougher because he feels very good and he has won matches and it's very difficult to stop him. The first round, I don't know.”

In the only other main draw match Sunday, South African Kevin Anderson capitalised on four of seven break points to dismiss Alex Bogomolov Jr. 6-3, 6-2. Anderson goes on to face sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

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