The top-ranked Rafael Nadal was to look to get his clay-court season back on track against Albert Ramos at the Barcelona Open after his fellow Spaniard won on Tuesday in the first round.
Ramos beat Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 6-4, 6-4 to set up yesterday’s second-round match against the defending champion and eight-time winner. Nadal was knocked out of the quarter-finals of the preceding Monte Carlo Masters — his earliest exit from the clay-court tournament since 2003.
Nadal said on Monday that his confidence had dipped since his defeat in the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka. Nadal has won 39 straight matches on the Barcelona clay.
In second-round play on Tuesday, fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori was a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 winner over Spain’s Roberto Bautista, as the Japanese player made a successful return from a groin injury that had sidelined him for one month.
No. 16 Benoit Paire of France was the only seeded player to exit, retiring at 6-4, 5-1 down to Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.
NASTASE TIRIAC TROPHY
AP, BUCHAREST, Romania
The sixth-seeded Andreas Seppi was knocked out of the first round of the Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Tuesday, along with seventh-seeded Nicolas Mahut.
Carlos Berlocq of Argentina ousted Italy’s Seppi 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4) on the outdoor clay at the BNR Arenas, while qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu defeated Mahut 6-3, 6-1 in a all-French contest.
Defending champion Lukas Rosol made a winning start, beating Italian Filippo Volandri 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).
Romanian hope Victor Hanescu defeated Israel’s Dudi Sela, 6-3, 6-4 and wild-card entrant Marius Copil of Romania downed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-4 in a match lasting just over one hour.
In other matches, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan ousted Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (8/6) and Robin Haase of the Netherlands beat Australia’s Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-3.
Saying his right wrist is not as badly hurt as he feared, Novak Djokovic plans to be back on the tennis tour in two weeks — and at the French Open later next month.
The right-handed Djokovic said in a statement on Tuesday he has been “assured” by doctors that he will be ready for upcoming clay-court tournaments, starting with the Madrid Masters on May 5. He would head to Rome the following week and then to Paris, where play in the year’s second Grand Slam tournament is scheduled to begin on May 25.
“Fortunately, the situation with the injury is better than it first seemed,” said Djokovic, who is No. 2 in the ATP rankings.
Djokovic has won six major singles championships and needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. He lost to eight-time champion Nadal at Roland Garros in last year’s semi-finals and the 2012 final.
Djokovic complained about pain in his right wrist last week, while playing as the defending champion at the Monte Carlo Masters, before losing 7-5, 6-2 to Roger Federer on Saturday in the semi-finals.
On Tuesday, Djokovic said he would “need to continue with the recovery process and full medical treatments.” He also said he “will have to take a short break in order to recover as soon as possible.”