An all-Spanish match-up is scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon, as world No. 4 Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro meet for a spot in the third round in Barcelona. This is a particularly intriguing match-up, as Nadal lost to Almagro for the first time in his career at this very same event last season. The Nadal vs Almagro Head to Head stands at 11-1.
Last Saturday, Nadal took on his longtime rival Novak Djokovic in an entertaining battle, and while he succumbed to the in-form Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, it was a far more competitive battle than the scoreline suggests. Overall, while he was pushed to three sets against the likes of John Isner, Nadal finds solace in the fact that he was able to pull through various obstacles en route to the final four of the tournament.
“For me, is a very positive week. The most positive week of the season, without any doubt,” said Nadal. “I think, if I am able to keep doing that in the next tournament in Barcelona, and I have a tough draw, I will say that I am very well again.”
“The way that I played yesterday and for moments today is the way that I want to play. Just with more matches playing like this, I will be confident enough to play. That level will not be the exception; it will be the normal thing. That is the thing that I need to make happen.”
His upcoming opponent, Nicolas Almagro, breezed into the second round by playing less than four games in his opening match against Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian retired 10 minutes into the match, which allowed the Spaniard easy entry into the following stage of the tournament.
This marks the 13th time these two competitors will clash on the ATP World Tour, with Nadal holding a solid 11-1 record against Almagro. The record includes an 8-0 clay court record, including ones in Barcelona and Acapulco in 2013. However, Almagro shocked the tennis community last season when he rallied from a set down to beat Nadal in the decider of the Barcelona quarter-final. Nadal will have an opportunity to right that wrong on Wednesday afternoon.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets