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Nadal Opens Barcelona Title Bid Wednesday

Barcelona, Spain

Nadal© Manuel QueimadelosRafael Nadal returns to Barcelona as a seven-time champion.

Rafael Nadal opens his bid for an eight Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title on Wednesday, and will attempt to extend his streak to 35 straight match wins at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament. 

The "King of Clay" and No. 2 seed opens against Argentinian Carlos Berlocq, whom he faces for the second time. They met earlier this year in the quarter-finals at Sao Paulo, where Nadal won in three sets. 

Berlocq converted four of 12 break point opportunities in his first round win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday. He is playing here for the third time (2-2 record), best result was reaching the second round in 2011 (l. to Ferrer). He is also looking for his first career win over a Top 10 opponent  (0-14 overall, 0-3 in 2013) record. 

Nadal, a seven-time champion  here, is 35-1 lifetime and he’s won 34 matches in a row since his second round loss to countryman Alex Corretja in 2003. He is off to a 21-2 start (16-2 on clay) and his eight-year title reign at ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo came to end as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic snapped his 46 match winning streak at Monte-Carlo in the final on Sunday. He has a career 270-21 record on clay and has never lost clay court matches back-to-back.

Carlos Berlocq (ARG) vs (2) Rafael Nadal (ESP)           Nadal Leads 1-0
13 Sao Paulo (Brazil)   Clay    QF    Rafael Nadal    3-6    6-4     6-4

Nadal FastFacts:
2013 Highlights:
W(3): Sao Paulo (d Nalbandian); Acapulco (d Ferrer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (d Del Potro); F(2): Vina del Mar (l Zeballos); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic)
YTD W-L: 21-2 (16-2 on clay)
YTD Titles: 3/Career Titles: 53
Date of Birth: June 3, 1986
Emirates ATP Ranking: 5

• Nadal, 26, a seven time champion here (2005, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’11 and ’12) owns a 35-1 career mark in Barcelona
• The Spaniard is off to a 21-2 start (16-2 on clay) but had his eight year title reign at ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo come to end as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic snapped his 46 match winning streak at Monte-Carlo in the finals
• He won his 600th career Tour-level match in the final of ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells on Mar. 17 (d. No. 2 Federer in QF, No. 6 Berdych in SF and No. 7 del Potro in F).  Had lost last six hard court finals since title in Tokyo on Oct. 10, 2010 (d. Monfils). Leads ATP World Tour with three titles
• He captured his 38th clay-court title (38-6 in finals) and second in Acapulco over No. 4 Ferrer 60 62. Finished Latin American clay court swing with a 12-1 record. It was first time he played there since’05
• On his return from left knee injury, after a seven-month absence, the Spaniard reached the Vina del Mar final, lost to Zeballos in three sets, final lasted 2 hrs, 47 mins; broke a 15-match clay winning streak (dating back to 2012, l. to Verdasco at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid). In doubles (w/Monaco),runner-up
• At Sao Paulo captured title (d. Nalbandian), it was his first title since winning at Roland Garros (d. Djokovic) last year

Berlocq FastFacts:
2013 Highlights:
SF: Vina del Mar (l Zeballos); QF: Sao Paulo (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 12-8 (8-5 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: February 3, 1983
Emirates ATP Ranking: 63

• Berlocq, 30, converted four of 12 break point opportunities in his 1R 75 64 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday. He is playing here for the third time (2-2 record), best result was reaching the 2R in 2011 (l. to Ferrer)
• In ATP Masters 1000 events reached 4R at Indian Wells (l. to Murray) and at Miami 1R ret. due to left knee injury in first set versus Pella
• Reached SF at Vina del Mar (l. to eventual champion Zeballos), also QF at Sao Paulo (l. to Nadal)
• Won deciding singles rubber (d. Simon in four sets) versus France to lead Argentina into Davis Cup SFs. Represented Argentina in 5-0 win over Germany in Davis Cup World Group 1R, beating Kohlschreiber and Kas in singles rubbers
• One of six Argentinian’s ranked in the Top 100 Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 63; joined by No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro, No. 20 Juan Monaco, No. 40 Horacio Zeballos, No. 57 Leonard Mayer and No. 99 Martin Alund)
• Career 0-14 (0-3 in 2013) vs Top 10 opponents

CLAY COURT DOMINATOR – Nadal has the best career match record on clay in the Open Era with a 270-21 mark (.928) and he’s 38-6 in clay finals. Here's a year-by-year look at Nadal's clay court supremacy since 2005, compiling a 244-11 match record (.957) on the ATP World Tour:
            W-L      Clay Finals
2013 – 16-2      2-2 (l. to Zeballos, Djokovic)
2012 – 23-1      4-0                                   
2011 – 28-2      3-2 (l. to Djokovic both)     
2010 -  22-0      4-0                                        
2009 -  24-2      3-1 (l. to Federer)
2008 – 24-1      4-0
2007 – 31-1      5-1 (l. to Federer)
2006 – 26-0      4-0   
2005 – 50-2      8-0          
Note: Nadal has lost to three players in a clay court final – Djokovic (three times), Federer (twice), Zeballos

• The second round concludes on Tuesday at The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, with the top four active wins leaders on clay in action (Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo) on Pista Central. Along with six of the seven players age 23-under in the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, are also on the order of play.

• The first of the day is a first-time meeting between 21-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and 30-year-old Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Dimitrov is one of seven players 23-under in Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings at a career-high No. 28. The top Bulgarian comes in with a 14-8 record (3-1 on clay) and he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final at Monte-Carlo last week (l. to Nadal). Last year he won his 14th match of the season in July in Bastad (semi-finals) and finished with a 24-19 record. Robredo is one of only four active players (Nadal- 270, Ferrer- 247, Almagro- 217) with over 200 career match wins on clay (216-95). The 2004 champion (d. Gaudio) is playing here for the 13th time in 15 years (did not play in 2011-12) with a career tournament record of 22-11.

• Following is also a first- time meeting between the top seed/World No. 4 David Ferrer and qualifier Dmitry Tursunov of Russia. Ferrer the top Spaniard who is making his 11th consecutive appearance here (25-10 career record). The four-time finalist (2008-09, ’11-12) comes in with a 25-5 (9-1 on clay) record on the year and did not play ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo due to a leg injury that he sustained during his loss to Andy Murray at the final of ATP Masters 1000 Miami on Mar. 31. Tursunov is playing in his first clay court match of the year and he defeated Denis Istomin 63 64 in the first round on Monday. He is playing here for the fifth `time (3-4 record) and his last visit was in 2008 when he reached the third round (l. to Gremelmayr). 

• Next up is Argentinian Carlos Berlocq against the “King of Clay” and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal for the second time. They meet earlier this year in the quarter-finals at Sao Paulo, where Nadal won in three sets. Berlocq converted four of 12 break point opportunities in his first round win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver on Tuesday. He is playing here for the third time (2-2 record), best result was reaching the second round in 2011 (l. to Ferrer). He is also looking for his first career win over a Top 10 opponent   (0-14 overall, 0-3 in 2013) record. Nadal, a seven-time champion  here, is 35-1 lifetime and he’s won 34 matches in a row since his second round loss to countryman Alex Corretja in 2003. He is off to a 21-2 start (16-2 on clay) and his eight-year title reign at ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo came to end as World No. 1 Novak Djokovic snapped his 46 match winning streak at Monte-Carlo in the final on Sunday. He has a career 270-21 record on clay and has never lost clay court matches back-to-back.

• Following is another first time meeting between the No. 4 seed Nicolas Almagro and Ivan Dodig of Croatia. The 27-year-old Almagro is a two-time semi-finalist here (2006, ’11) and is playing here for the tenth time with a career tournament record of 17-9. The 28-year-old Dodig defeated Aljaz Bedene 67(6) 63 62 for his first clay court match win of the year on Monday. He is playing here for just the second time (5-1 record) he reached semi-finals in 2011 (l. to Nadal).

• The last of the day is the fourth first time meeting on Pista Central today as Spaniard Albert Ramos squares off with the Polish No. 9 seed Jerzy Janowicz. The 25-year-old Ramos is playing here for the fourth time (6-3 record), best result was third round in 2012 (l. to Nishikori) and 2010 as a qualifier (l. to  Gulbis). The 22-year-old Janowicz one of seven players age 23-under in Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings at No. 25. He playing here for the first time. 

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