Barcelona: World number one Rafael Nadal will aim to begin his quest for 11th Barcelona Open title on a winning note when he takes on his fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the men’s singles clash here on Wednesday.
Nadal, as the top seed in Barcelona, was handed a bye into the second round and so he is yet to take to the court in Catalonia.
World No. 77 Carballes, on the other hand, will face his compatriot after beating Austria’s Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round that lasted one hour and 34 minutes.
The top-ranked will head into the tournament on the back of his eleventh Monte Carlo crown last weekend. Nadal retained his numero-uno spot in ATP rankings after clinching 6-3, 6-2 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the finals in Monaco.
Nadal, however, needs to win the title in Barcelona in order to remain at the top spot in the ATP Rankings, or else Swiss tennis maestro ad his long-time rival Roger Federer will take over.
It should be noted that Nadal and Carballes Baena have never met before this clash.
While Carballes Baena has just 20 match wins to his name at Tour-level, Nadal has 884 career victories to his name and 76 career titles–which is 75 more than his fellow Spaniard.