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Corona ATP Weekly Slice: Nadal Bids For Barcelona Defence; Dimitrov's First Time As Top Seed

Corona ATP Slice

Tap into the essentials of the week ahead and re-live the highlights of the past week with Corona ATP Weekly Slice, as we serve up an executive summary of what every fan should know, along with a look at the best in social media.

LOOKING AHEAD

Who’s Playing This Week?
Rafael Nadal looks to continue his domination of the red clay at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where the defending champion (d. Almagro) has lifted the trophy eight times. In Bucharest, Grigor Dimitrov makes his debut as a tournament top seed, and will be joined by defending champion Lukas Rosol and three-time champion Gilles Simon.

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (Barcelona)
The top two Spaniards in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, lead the 56-player field at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, Spain's oldest tennis club. This is the 62nd edition of the tournament. Spaniards have won the past 11 titles, with Nadal lifting the trophy eight times. Other former winners in the field are Fernando Verdasco (2010) and Tommy Robredo (2004).

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Reigning Champion – World No. 1 and eight-time champion Nadal comes into Barcelona with a 40-1 tournament record, winning 39 consecutive matches and all eight of his titles in the past nine years (did not play in 2010). His only loss came in his debut as a 15-year-old in 2003 when he lost to countryman Alex Corretja in three sets in the second round. Since losing the second set in the 2008 final against Ferrer, Nadal has won 39 consecutive sets at the event.

April Streak on the Line – Nadal has won at least one title in April every year since 2005. April is the Spaniard’s most productive month, when he's earned 15 of his 62 titles. Last year, Nadal’s streak of 81 straight match wins on clay in the month of April ended with his loss to Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo final. Nadal lost in the 2014 Monte-Carlo quarter-finals to Ferrer.

One to Watch – The biggest mover in the Top 50 Emirates ATP Rankings from the end of last season is Alexandr Dolgopolov, who has jumped from No. 57 to No. 22. Since beginning the season with a 4-5 FedEx ATP Win/Loss record, the Ukrainian has gone 15-5 in his last five tournaments, posting three Top 10 and four Top 20 wins.

BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy (Bucharest)
The two biggest names in Romanian tennis history, Ilie Nastase and Ion Tiriac, are celebrated in the name of Romania’s sole event on the ATP World Tour. The 22nd edition is headlined by wild card Grigor Dimitrov and Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who is making his second straight appearance.

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Defending Champion – The reigning champion is No. 3 Czech Lukas Rosol, who last year was the third of eight first-time winners on the ATP World Tour. Rosol helped his country to the Davis Cup semi-finals with a pair of singles wins against Japan two weeks ago.

Title Favourite – Frenchman Gilles Simon, the only three-time champion (2007-’08, ’12) in tournament history, owns a 17-2 record in Bucharest. His 16-match winning streak here came to an end last year when he lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Rosol. Simon enters with a 4-8 match record on the season and is trying to end a four-match opening-round losing streak.

Local Title Hopes – Top Romanian Victor Hanescu is making his 11th appearance in his home country tournament. The 32-year-old has a 14-10 career record, reaching the final in 2007 (l. to Simon), the semi-finals in 2005 and the quarter-finals in three other occasions. Hanescu has finished in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in 10 of the past 11 years.

Potential Milestones (Career match wins as of 21 April 2014)

Barcelona – Doubles
Max Mirnyi - 649 wins
Rohan Bopanna - 198 wins
Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi - 198 wins

Bucharest – Singles
Victor Hanescu - 195 wins

Bucharest – Doubles
Julian Knowle - 346 wins

Emirates ATP Rankings Movers
David Ferrer 5 (+1 spot)
Milos Raonic 9 (+1 spot) - career high
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 32 (+6 spots)
Lukas Rosol 43 (+4 spots)
Teymuraz Gabashvili 55 (+3 spots) - career high
Pablo Carreno Busta 58 (+4 spots) - career high
Aleksandr Nedovyesov 72 (+3 spots) - career high
Paolo Lorenzi 85 (+22 spots)
Blaz Rola 111 (+10 spots) - career high
Taro Daniel 183 (+9 spots) - career high

Birthdays
23 April - Alex Bogomolov Jr. (31)
25 April - Jan-Lennard Struff (24)
26 April - John Isner (29)
27 April - Horacio Zeballos (29)
27 April - Nick Kyrgios (19)

Player To Watch: Grigor DimitrovDimitrov
For the first time in his young career, Grigor Dimitrov is the No. 1 seed in an ATP World Tour tournament. The Bulgarian, who is the youngest player in the Top 20 Emirates ATP Rankings at a career-high No. 14, is off to a 16-6 start this season. The 22 year old won his second ATP World Tour title in Acapulco (d. Anderson) and advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter-final in Melbourne (l. to Nadal in four sets).

How To Watch
Watch coverage of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell beginning 21 April and BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy beginning 25 April. (Territory restrictions apply.)
Watch Live Powered by Tennis TV | TV Schedule

WEEK IN REVIEW

Twitter Top Tweets

@stanwawrinka (Stanislas Wawrinka)
Happy to play the final against a good friend @rogerfederer !!! pic.twitter.com/8lcHNXkhsN

@Bryanbros (Bob Bryan)
Congrats to my big bro, Mike, on triple digits. #100 @MCROLEXMASTERS pic.twitter.com/JistISPxW2

@paul_annacone (Paul Annacone)
@Bryanbros @Bryanbrothers just amazing accomplishments keep rolling in for the boys, congrats #history

@delpotrojuan (Juan Martin del Potro)
Happy Easter everyone! Hope you have a great Sunday with your loved ones!

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Video of the Week
Watch Roger Federer win this sensational point en route to beating Novak Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semi-finals.

In Case You Missed It...

Monte-Carlo Singles: Stanislas Wawrinka retained his World No. 3 position Emirates ATP Rankings by defeating Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in the all-Swiss Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final. The 29-year-old Wawrinka claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title after finishing runner-up in Rome 2008 (l. to Djokovic) and Madrid last year (l. to Nadal).
Wawrinka: "I'm really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters 1000 so quick. I didn't expect to."

Monte-Carlo Doubles: Mike Bryan became first player to win 100 tour-level doubles titles after he and twin brother Bob Bryan triumphed at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday. The Americans captured their 98th team title as they defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in 72 minutes.
M. Bryan: “It's a great... to be the first player to hit a hundred titles."

Tidbits
NadalRafael Nadal manned the rudder of the Yacht Club de Monaco's flagship, Tuiga, as it sailed around the Monte-Carlo harbour. More...
• The tennis family came together on Tuesday night in Monte Carlo to celebrate 25 years of the ATP World Tour. More...
• Monte Carlo resident Marin Cilic and coach Goran Ivanisevic visited charities this week: the Special Olympics Monaco and Fight Aids Monaco. More...
• Ivanisevic, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna stole the show at the annual Player Revue in Monte-Carlo. More...
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka warmed up with each other ahead of their Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final. Read...
• Nadal became the 11th player in the Open Era to record 300 tour-level clay-court wins by advancing to the Monte-Carlo quarterfinals (d. Seppi). More...
• Federer became the third player in the Open Era to reach 950 wins (behind Connors and Lendl) when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals. More...
• The ATP World Tour 250 event in St. Petersburg, Russia, will be relocated to Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2014 More...

Photo Gallery: Monte-Carlo


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