A third round match-up is scheduled to take in Barcelona, as world No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal clashes with Ivan Dodig for the fourth time on the ATP World Tour. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 2-1, including a victory on this surface back in 2011.
Rafa’s shaky confidence was evident during the early stages of the match, as he would quickly fall 1-3 to Ramos in the opening stages of the match, before clawing his way back to even terms. Nadal would then find his own break of serve, but would not be able to hang onto it, as Ramos would break back and force a tiebreaker. The world No. 1 proceeded to dominate that portion of the set, eventually snatching it 7-2 to give himself the comfortable lead in the match. While he looked far from terrible in the opening set, Nadal did allow both break points he faced through, and only won 34% of first serve returns.
The second set was tighter battle, as Nadal had several poor return games which allowed Ramos to remain on serve with his Spanish counterpart through the first eight games in the set. It would be in the ninth game that Nadal would secure his own service game, and finish off by breaking Ramos to close out the match 7-6, 6-4.
- This was Nadal’s 40th straight win in Barcelona.
- He has also won 41 sets in a row since the 2008 final.
- Rafa is 275-12 on clay since the start of 2005
Ivan Dodig began his week in Barcelona with a three set win over Argentina’s Arguello before picking up the upset victory over local favourite Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4. He holds a 7-9 singles record on the tour this season and has picked up back-to-back victories for the first time since reaching the quarter-final in Marseille in February.
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and the second time on this particular surface. Nadal leads the series 2-1, including a victory here in Barcelona in 2011 to give him a 1-0 lead on clay. While the Spaniard had to work hard for his straight sets victory against Ramos, he will likely have a more comfortable match against the Croat.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets