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Nadal Back On Track In Barcelona; Almagro Wins Opener

Barcelona, Spain

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal has won 35 straight matches in Barcelona.

Rafael Nadal quickly put his Monte-Carlo final defeat behind him on Wednesday, as he began his quest for an eighth Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell crown with a 6-4, 6-2 dismissal of Carlos Berlocq.

The second seed won 48 per cent of his return points to break Berlocq four times, wrapping up victory in 88 minutes. Nadal improved to 2-0 against the Argentine, adding to his quarter-final win earlier this year in Sao Paulo, where he picked up his first of three consecutive trophies (Acapulco, Indian Wells).

“The conditions today weren't comfortable,” said Nadal. “There was a very changeable wind that made it difficult to play at a high level. The most important thing is to accept the situation and move forward.”

Nadal has won 35 successive matches in Barcelona, with his last loss at the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court event coming 10 years ago in the second round to compatriot Alex Corretja. The 26-year-old Nadal has a 271-21 mark on clay and is seeking his 39th tour-level title on the surface.

In the third round, Nadal will face 13th seed Benoit Paire. The Frenchman topped Pablo Andujar 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes.  

Fourth seed Nicolas Almagro defeated Ivan Dodig 6-1, 7-5, winning 70 per cent of his service points in the 75-minute victory. World No. 12 Almagro improved to 9-1 in his opening-round matches at the event.

Spain's Albert Ramos rallied to knock off No. 9 seed Jerzy Janowicz 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The two were meeting for the first time. Ramos will place sixth seed Kei Nishikori next.  

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