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Nadal, Robredo, Nishikori In Barcelona Action Thursday

Barcelona, Spain

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• ROUND OF 16: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal headlines the action on Day 4 at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899. The 27-year-old, who is bidding for his ninth Barcelona crown this week, goes up against Ivan Dodig for the fourth time, with the Spaniard leading their FedEx H2H series 2-1. Pista Central also plays host to an all-Spanish clash between Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Almagro. The pair met just 11 days ago in the Houston final when Verdasco emerged victorious, improving his H2H record over his compatriot to 7-3. The other two matches on the main show court see No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori take on Andrey Golubev and No. 5 seed Tommy Robredo clash with No. 12 seed Marin Cilic. All eight R16 matches take to court today.

• MILESTONE WATCH: Nadal will go level with Arthur Ashe in 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with victory today. The Spaniard currently boasts a 682-133 career mark, one win short of Ashe (683-225). If Nadal can equal the American’s haul today his eyes will firmly be set on the top 10 and Boris Becker, who sits 10th on 713 wins. The top seed has a 41-1 record in Barcelona, winning 40 consecutive matches and eight titles in the past nine years (did not play in 2010). His only loss came on his debut as a 15-year-old in 2003 when he lost to compatriot Alex Corretja in three sets in the 2R. During his 40-match winning streak here he has lost just three sets, dropping the last one in the second set of the 2008 final against Ferrer. Since losing that set to Ferrer, Nadal has won 41 consecutive sets here.

• CLAY MATCH WIN LEADERS: Three of the top five active win leaders on clay are in action today – Nadal, Almagro and Robredo:

RANK PLAYER CLAY WINS
1 Rafael Nadal 301
2 David Ferrer 270
3 Nicolas Almagro 239
5 Tommy Robredo 238
6 Juan Monaco 200

• 2014 MATCH WIN LEADERS: Nadal and Cilic, who plays Robredo today, are among 2014’s standout players. The Spaniard and Croat are also two of four players to win multiple titles this year: Wawrinka (Chennai, Australian Open, Monte-Carlo), Cilic (Zagreb, Delray Beach), Nadal (Doha, Rio de Janeiro) and Djokovic (Indian Wells, Miami).

RANK PLAYER 2014 W-L
1 Roger Federer 28-5
2 Rafael Nadal 24-4
3 Marin Cilic 24-7
5 Fabio Fognini 23-8
6 David Ferrer 22-8

DAY 4 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

PISTA CENTRAL

Andrey Golubev (KAZ) vs [4] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

• Golubev reached the 3R with wins over qualifier Matteo Viola and No. 16 seed Benoit Paire.
• Golubev is making his third appearance in Barcelona. He fell in the 1R in both 2011 and 2012.
• Golubev’s lone ATP World Tour victory in 2014 – before this week – came over Victor Hanescu in Zagreb (l. to Kohlschreiber). His best performances this season have come in Davis Cup. He played a major role for Kazakhstan in their World Group 1R clash with Belgium at the end of January, overcoming David Goffin 12-10 in the fifth set on the opening day before clinching victory in the decisive fifth rubber over Ruben Bemelmans. Against Switzerland in the QF, Golubev upset world No. 3 Wawrinka before falling to Federer as the Swiss clinched a 3-2 win.
• Golubev won an ATP Challenger title on home soil in Astana in February (d. Muller in F).
• Golubev went 5-5 in Tour-level matches in 2013, finishing the season just outside the top 100.
• Nishikori opened his account with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut.
• Nishikori is making his fourth appearance in Barcelona. His best showing came in 2012 when he advanced to the QF before falling to Verdasco.
• Nishikori’s highlight of the season came in Memphis in February when he won the fourth title of his career (d. Karlovic in F). His other standout performances came in the opening week of the season in Brisbane where he reached the SF (l. to eventual champ Hewitt) and in Indian Wells last month where he posted top 10 wins over Ferrer and Federer en route to the final four before withdrawing ahead of his clash with Djokovic after picking up a left groin injury.
• Nishikori has finished inside the top 25 in the past three seasons while becoming the highest ranked player from his country in ATP history. He reached a career-high No. 11 on June 17, 2013.

[11] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs [6] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Verdasco leads 7-3
2005 Stuttgart (Germany) Clay R64 F Verdasco 7-6(4) 6-0
2007 Kitzbuhel (Austria) Clay R16 F Verdasco 6-2 7-6(6)
2009 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 F Verdasco 6-2 7-6(4) 7-6(8)
2010 Roland Garros (France) Clay R16 N Almagro 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4
2011 Hamburg (Germany) Clay SF N Almagro 6-4 6-1
2011 Gstaad (Switzerland) Clay SF F Verdasco 6-7(2) 7-6(2) 6-3
2012 Acapulco (Mexico) Clay QF F Verdasco 6-4 7-6(5)
2012 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami Hard R32 N Almagro 6-3 6-4
2013 Bastad (Sweden) Clay QF F Verdasco 6-4 4-6 7-5
2014 Houston (U.S.A.) Clay F F Verdasco 6-3 7-6(4)

Other Meetings:
2001 Spain F7 (Spain) Clay QF F Verdasco 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3

• Verdasco booked his place in the 3R with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kenny De Schepper, saving seven of eight BPs. He remains unbeaten on clay this season (5-0).
• Verdasco returns to Barcelona for the 10th time. The Spaniard lifted the title here in 2010 with wins over Ferrer in the SF and Soderling in the final. He also reached the SF in 2012 (l. to Nadal).
• Verdasco clinched his first title in almost four years and sixth overall in Houston two weeks ago, defeating Almagro in the final. At Indian Wells, Verdasco posted his first top 10 win since 2012 (d. No. 10 Monaco in Shanghai) with a 7-6(5), 6-1 upset of Gasquet to reach the 4R (l. to Isner).
• Verdasco failed to string back-to-back wins together in his other four outings this year: Doha (l. to Hanescu in 2R), the Australian Open (l. to Gabashvili in 2R), Rotterdam (l. to Haas in 1R) and Miami (l. to De Bakker in 2R).
• Verdasco finished 2013 inside the top 30 for the seventh consecutive year. After a slow start (7-11 through Roland Garros) he compiled a 22-12 record the rest of the year.
• Almagro posted a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory over Martin Klizan in his opening match, winning 80% of points behind his first serve (32 of 40).
• Almagro is making his 11th appearance in Barcelona. His best showing came last year when he reached the final for the first time (l. to Nadal). He has advanced to the SF on two other occasions, in 2006 (l. to Nadal) and 2011 (l. to Ferrer).
• Almagro contested his first tournament in more than three months in Vina del Mar in February (l. to Fognini 7-6 in 3rd set in SF). He followed on with another SF appearance in Buenos Aires where he lost to David Ferrer for the 15th time in succession. He withdrew from Indian Wells with a right shoulder injury after 1R exits in Rio de Janeiro (l. to Dolgoplov) and Sao Paulo (l. to Debonis) before reaching the 3R in Miami (l. to Isner).
• Almagro’s best showing this season came in Houston two weeks ago when he reached the final (l. to Verdasco). He advanced to the 3R a week later in Monte-Carlo (l. to Wawrinka).
• Almagro finished 2013 inside the top 20 for the fourth year in a row (fifth in six years) and reached the QF or better 11 times (7-4). His streak of winning an ATP title for seven years in a row came to an end, however, with two final appearances in Houston (l. to Isner) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal).

[5] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs [12] Marin Cilic (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 2-2
2006 's-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) Grass R32 Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-4
2008 ATP Masters Series Canada (Canada) Hard R32 Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4
2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard R32 Tommy Robredo 7-5 7-6(2)
2014 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells Hard R32 Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3

• Robredo notched his 25th career win at the Barcelona Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marinko Matosevic in his opening match.
• This is Robredo’s 13th visit to Barcelona (24-12). The 31-year-old lifted the title here a decade ago in 2004, defeating Gaston Gaudio in five sets in the final. He also reached the final here in 2006 before losing to Nadal. Robredo has reached the QF on four other occasions, including three of his last four outings here.
• Robredo’s best showing of 2014 came in February in Buenos Aires where he reached the SF (l. to Fognini). He also advanced to the QF in Rio (l. to Andujar). At Indian Wells, Robredo fell to Cilic in the 3R; in Miami his run was halted by Djokovic in the 4R; and in Monte-Carlo last week he was beaten in the 3R by Raonic.
• Robredo finished 2013 inside the top 20 for the first time since 2009 by winning clay titles in Casablanca (d. Anderson) and Umag (d. Fognini).
• Cilic, who is making his debut in Barcelona this week, defeated qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov 6-1, 7-6(2) to reach the 3R. The Croat won 87% of points on his first serve (34 of 39).
• Cilic collected his 10th and 11th ATP World Tour titles at home in Zagreb (d. Haas) and in Delray Beach (d. Anderson) in February. He also posted back-to-back top wins over world No. 10 Tsonga and No. 6 Murray en route to the final of the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam (l. to Berdych in F).
• Cilic has climbed 10 spots (No. 37 – 27) in the Emirates ATP Rankings since the start of the year.
• Cilic finished the 2013 season in the top 50 for a sixth consecutive year, winning a ninth career title.

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 2-1
2011 Barcelona (Spain) Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2
2011 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada Hard R32 Ivan Dodig 1-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5)
2013 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard R32 Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 6-3

• Nadal clinched his 40th successive victory in Barcelona with a 7-6(2), 6-4 win over compatriot Albert Ramos in his opening match. The world No. 1 converted on all three of his BP opportunities.
• Nadal is making his 10th appearance here. He has won the title eight times: 2005 (d. Ferrero), 2006 (d. Robredo), 2007 (d. Canas), 2008 (d. Ferrer), 2009 (d. Ferrer), 2011 (d. Ferrer), 2012 (d. Ferrer) and 2013 (d. Almagro). He has won 40 matches in succession since falling to Alex Corretja in the 2R on his debut in 2003.
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. In chronological order, he had previously won in Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Monaco, Spain, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Canada, China, U.A.E., U.S., England, Australia and Japan. He went on to reach the Australian Open final (d. No. 6 Federer in SF, l. to Wawrinka in F).
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open in February. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory.
• At Indian Wells, Nadal advanced to the 3R where he was upset in three sets by Dolgopolov. He bounced back to reach the final in Miami (l. to Djokovic).
• Last week in Monte-Carlo, Nadal became just the 11th player in the Open Era to win at least 300 matches on clay when he defeated Seppi in the 3R. Countryman Carlos Moya was the last player to win at least 300 career matches on the surface in 2007. Nadal’s win percentage of .932 on clay is the best of all-time.
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Oct. 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time.
• In 2013, Nadal became the first player to win 35+ matches on both clay and hard in a season.
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77).
• Nadal was named as the recipient of the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur in March. It was his third Laureus statuette overall. He also won the Laureus Sport of the Year award in 2011 and the Newcomer of the Year award in 2006.
• Dodig edged past Argentine wild card Facundo Arguello 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 in the 1R before upsetting No. 13 seed Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4. It marked the first time he posted back-to-back wins since February.
• Dodig is making his third appearance in Barcelona. He advanced to the SF on his debut here in 2011 (l. to Nadal).
• Dodig’s best performances this season came on home soil in Zagreb (l. to Cilic in QF) and in Marseille (l. to Gasquet in QF).
• Dodig finished 2013 as the top Croat for the first time in his career, with a year-end best ranking of No. 33. He also won a personal-high 33 matches and earned a career-high $1,255,455.
• Dodig is 4-18 against top 10 opponents and 0-1 this year. His last top 10 win came in Tokyo last September when he defeated No. 8 Tsonga en route to the SF (l. to Raonic).

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