Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal says he didn't compete well against Leonardo Mayer in hard-fought win

Rafael Nadal survived an early scare at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday by coming from a set down to beat Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and seal his place in the last 16

Agence France-Presse April 25, 2019 15:50:12 IST
Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal says he didn't compete well against Leonardo Mayer in hard-fought win
  • Nadal, who is attempting to win the tournament for a record 12th time, was made to work hard for his 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-2 victory

  • Fellow Spaniard David Ferrer now awaits Nadal in the next round, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake

  • Nadal will be gunning for title number 12 at Roland Garros too and this recovery will have given him much relief

Barcelona: Rafael Nadal survived an early scare at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday by coming from a set down to beat Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and seal his place in the last 16.

Nadal, who is attempting to win the tournament for a record 12th time, was made to work hard for his 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-2 victory as the world number two avoided a surprise defeat ahead of the start of the French Open next month.

Barcelona Open Rafael Nadal says he didnt compete well against Leonardo Mayer in hardfought win

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action. Reuters

Fellow Spaniard David Ferrer now awaits Nadal in the next round, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. Nadal has won all of his last four meetings with Ferrer.

"It was a tough start, I didn't have the feeling this afternoon. I just found a way to keep going and win," admitted Nadal.

"He competed well and I was probably not competing that well. My attitude was solid but I had to work hard to stay in the tournament."

Nadal, who has 25-6 winning record against Ferrer, added: "Playing David is never easy, especially since he's such a friend. I'm expecting a tough match."

Mayer, ranked 63rd in the world, had never beaten a top-five opponent in 15 attempts but was more than a match for a nervous-looking Nadal in the opening set.

Nadal will be gunning for title number 12 at Roland Garros too and this recovery will have given him much relief, after the 17-time major champion was a shock semi-final loser to Fabio Fognini at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

A poor game allowed Nadal to break to love at 4-3 in the first set but Mayer hit back for 5-5 and held on for a tie-break.

Nadal looked in control after recovering from 3-1 and 4-2 down to set up two set points but he squandered both before Mayer took his chance at the first time of asking, a booming forehand enough to clinch the set.

An early break at the start of the second sent Nadal on his way and he served out at 5-4 to take the match to a decider.

Mayer seemed to have lost belief as he dumped a simple backhand volley into the net, allowing his opponent to seize a crucial break at 2-2.

From there, the momentum was set as Nadal whipped a forehand down the line for 5-2 and then served out to complete a hard-fought win.

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