• Nadal opens Barcelona title defense on Wednesday

    4/24/13 1:04 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Nadal opens Barcelona title defense on Wednesday Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal is set to headline play at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell with a second-round match against Carlos Berlocq. The two will be meeting for the season time this season.

    World No. 5 Rafael Nadal holds a 1-0 series lead against World No. 63 Carlos Berlocq, having won their only previous meeting at the 2013 Brasil Open.

    Nadal is back on court following a runner-up finish to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo. The 26-year-old will be looking to win an eighth Barcelona title this week, adding to prior championship runs earned from 2005-2009 and 2011-2012.

    Nadal is seeking his 22nd victory of the season.

    Berlocq is through to the second round after defeating Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets. The Argentine veteran secured four of 12 break points en route to a 7-5. 6-4 win. Berlocq will attempt to record his 13th victory of the season.

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#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/24/13 11:44 AM

Wouldn't it be something if Rafa won Barcelona and RG this year?

Monte Carlo: 8 titles
Barcelona: 8 titles
Roland Garros: 8 titles


rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 2:03 PM

I think that was the plan from the begining, now I get why Rafa lost MC ;)

Shireling , 4/24/13 2:55 PM

^^^Hahaha! Nice one................

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 3:17 PM

No Harm if he wins Rome....Win Barcelona, Rome and RG, sounds reasonable no?

atul1985 , 4/24/13 3:18 PM

How many titles does he have in Rome 6 or 7?

atul1985 , 4/24/13 3:21 PM

Rafa has 6 Rome titles. Yes, woudl be nice if he won that this year too although it would break the synchronicity! It would be "only" 7 after all...............

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 3:32 PM

no probs, the plan is to win Rome the next four years while winning all the rest to set all at a perfect 10.

Shireling , 4/24/13 3:45 PM

^^^Ja, ja, I like this plan. In the coming years, he can donate a title or 2 to whoever at the other tournaments so that he achieves a perfect 10 synchronicity at ALL the clay tournaments in one year!!

Madrid does not count.............

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 4:01 PM

rafa already playing better in barcelona against berlocq, than in any of his monte carlo matches. He's being v agressive and his forehand is finally clicking.

willmw101 , 4/24/13 4:15 PM

^^^Good to hear, please keep the updates flowing @willmw101, cannot watch the match live, only going with live scores.....


rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 4:18 PM

thx for the update willmw101.. can't see streaming here (at work)

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:22 PM

3-0 to Rafa in 1st set, so far so good

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:24 PM

4-1 Rafa

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:27 PM

no problem. Rafa's movement looks superb, back to close to 100%. Forehand huge, backhand looking more solid even against a lot of high bouncing and spinning crosscourts from berlocq

willmw101 , 4/24/13 4:32 PM

good to hear, Thanks willmw101

atul1985 , 4/24/13 4:36 PM

Rafa's forehand working nicely today. Doesn't look any worse for the wear from MC disappointment.

Got to hand it to the guy for bouncing back quickly.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 4:42 PM

WTF, Rafa gets broken?

atul1985 , 4/24/13 4:44 PM

But he just got broken serving for the set, that is not good...............

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 4:44 PM

oh dear

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:44 PM

No problem on the second try. First set Rafa 6-4.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 4:48 PM

Well that should have been 6:3 but I'll settle for the 6:4

ed251137 , 4/24/13 4:48 PM

Okay, Rafa makes it up by breaking straight back and taking the set 6-4 but I am not amused with this dropping of serves at crucial points of the match. That's a mental lapse surely.....

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 4:50 PM

Thanks Willow for the update.

Rafa still has to work on his ability to close sets. However, after the Monte Carlo nightmare, Ill take 6:4!!!

Its good to know Rafa form is improving. One match at a time, Rafa!!


Monalysa , 4/24/13 4:51 PM

cogs and gears are still being fine-tuned

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:52 PM

I think it's all the stopping and starting since he's been back. It's good for his knees, bad for his rhythm. He likes to work himself into form...but his knees haven't let him.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 4:53 PM

can anybody say if Berlocq is playing well or bad?

Shireling , 4/24/13 4:56 PM

gotta go but wouldn't read too much into the break. When he hits a purple patch berlocq can be seriously agressive, he could never sustain it.

I think losing in monte carlo might actually have a positive effect on the rest of rafa's season.

willmw101 , 4/24/13 4:57 PM

^^^I think he's playing pretty well. Berlocq knows how to play on clay, but he still sprays errors sometimes.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 4:58 PM

And Rafa with some good hands at the net. Deuce.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 5:00 PM

thx cherylmurray,

hey willmw101, I like your positive attitude today ;)

Shireling , 4/24/13 5:00 PM

willmw - You are funny. Didn't you say that his season was over? :D

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 5:01 PM

1-1 Berlocq doesn't seem to be daunted

Shireling , 4/24/13 5:02 PM

in a bit of a crazy way I like Rafa's UEs because it means that he's trying to change things...

Shireling , 4/24/13 5:04 PM

Conditions awful again. The clay is blowing all over the place.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 5:04 PM

It's good if Berlocq is giving Rafa a good work-out, now that Ferru is out...

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 5:04 PM

what, Ferru is out? wtf

Shireling , 4/24/13 5:07 PM

^^ he lost 1-6 in the third to Tursunov. It was as terrible as I've ever seen Ferrer play.

cherylmurray , 4/24/13 5:09 PM

as most people on here now know, i like to jinx myself :D

willmw101 , 4/24/13 5:09 PM


cherylmurray , 4/24/13 5:11 PM

willmw101 , 4/24/13 5:09 PM

So, are your glowing reports on Rafa's game (today), a true reflection or should we take them with a pinch of salt?

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 5:17 PM

I think one of the main problems rafa had in montcarlo was that he couldn't find enough of an angle on his inside out crosscourt forehand. This shot is especially important as it attacks djokovic's weaker forehand and finishes lots of points on clay. He was too linear with it in monte carlo and i think it was just rustiness, there was no power lacking, just the angle...

Seems to be finding a bit more of an angle in todays match against berlocq than in any of his monte carlo matches.

willmw101 , 4/24/13 5:17 PM

RITB I only jinx with negative thoughts ;)

willmw101 , 4/24/13 5:19 PM

Rafa wins 6-4, 6-2. I like the 2nd set win, through breaking opponent's serve, shows much more intestinal fortitude....

Who's next?

rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 5:36 PM

It's all thanks to willmw jinxing himself.

Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/24/13 5:39 PM

Losing MC takes a lot of pressure off Rafa being expected to win all the time.

Great to see him playing well in Barca.

Of course he wanted to win MC but didn't want to go 110%. His focus is on the big prize.


Conspirator , 4/24/13 6:20 PM

"........Berlocq had taken Nadal to three sets shortly after his return to action in Sao Paulo, but the Spaniard is getting stronger by the match ........."

Come-back is progressing well............


rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 6:47 PM

Rafa plays Benoit Paire tomorrow, first time meeting............


rafaisthebest , 4/24/13 7:09 PM

....just arrived home. Glad to see the score-line. Good that Rafa is trying to be aggressive and finish off points sooner. Some happiness for the fans at Barcelona after their 4-0 defeat yesterday. (Although Nadal is a R. Madrid fan).

Shireling , 4/24/13 7:26 PM

It's great to come on here and read that Rafa is playing better in his first match in Barcelona! I want to thank willmw for the updates about the match and how Rafa looked. The tennis channel starts coverage tomorrow, so I can at least record Rafa's next match.

I wondered how Ferrer would be coming back from the thigh injury. I am surprised that he is out already.

I do think the pressure is off Rafa after the loss at MC. He is only going to get better the more he plays. I think Cheryl had it right when she said that the stopping and starting has been good for Rafa's knees, but bad for his game. That was my concern when he had to skip Miami after he seemed to be getting into good form at I/W.

At least I will see the rest of the matches!

I am so proud of Rafa for being able to move past the loss at MC! No conceding the clay season! A win at Barcelona would give him good feelings and confidence!

Nativenewyorker , 4/24/13 8:09 PM

IMO, age is also catching up to Daveed, He appears to be unable to put out as much as he did in the past, but that's not the only problem facing him. It's a combination of the disappointment of losing in so many finals to a top 5 player, (1) losing in such a very demoralizing manner to Nadal at Acapulco, (considering Rafa was out for 7 months, and he still was not able to beat him) and then losing to Murray at Miami in the final. I'm of the opinion that he's asking himself questions as to what more does he need to do to get past a top 5 player. There's only so much the mind can handle, before taking a toll physically. And, his gladiatorial style of play is not helping his cause against the top players, nor the lower-ranked players, coz they are also raising their game. He most probably is feeling despair when he looks at the whole picture. I know I would if I were in his position. IMO, the mental aspect is now manifesting itself physically, and going forward everthing most probably now appears bleak in his eyes. Maybe, things will turn around for him, and maybe not, but we'll know more at the end of the clay season as to what's causing Daveed's game to go off track so badly.

scoretracker , 4/25/13 3:23 AM

I agree. Those 2 losses would have demoralized him. My guess is his season is just about done if not his career. Shame really.

chr18 , 4/25/13 3:39 AM

guys, it's David .. not Daveed
He's pretty smart you know and a very down-to-earth and friendly guy. I've heard many interviews he's given to the Spanish media. Did you know he was a brick-layer before he considered tennis?
I'm sure those loses must hurt A LOT but I also thinks he sees himself as very lucky to be in the circuit and can see objectively, he knows there are guys better than he is and that there's no shame in getting beaten by better players.

This said, I think he needs to take a break.

Shireling , 4/25/13 1:50 PM

Why would Ferru retire while earning the highest income of his career?

Who retires while still in the Top 10???


Conspirator , 4/25/13 4:14 PM

ehmmmmm, Borg?

Shireling , 4/26/13 12:22 PM

Borg quit because he was burned out and tired of losing to JMac.

Maybe I should have said in the last 30 years! ;)


Conspirator , 4/26/13 3:30 PM

well, you gave yourself the answer of how can anybody retire whist at the top?
Don't think Ferrer is burnt out though

Shireling , 4/26/13 3:41 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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