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Marcos Baghdatis was denied the 300th match win of his career on Tuesday at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy. Marco Cecchinato saved all four break points he faced to defeat the fifth seed 6-2, 6-4 in 75 minutes. He'll next face Damir Dzumhur, who last week qualified for the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and reached the third round (l. to Raonic).
Seventh seed Paolo Lorenzi recorded his 10th victory of the year by beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes. Later in the day, former World No. 7 Fernando Verdasco - returning to the tournament for the first time since 2006, hit 18 aces to scrap past qualifier Aldin Setkic 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and 34 minutes.
"It was a long match, even for clay," said Haase. "I was lucky to be two breaks up in the first set, but then he came back and it was totally different. I should have won that set 6-3 or maybe 6-4. But then I got the tie-break and I came back from a break down in the second. I'm pleased with the victory."
"I am happy right now," said Pouille. "It is never easy to enter a tournament after a good week in Monte-Carlo, especially against Dusan who I lost to twice already. It wasn't a high-quality match but I tried to do simple things, to serve well and to be solid during important points."
If they were looking for inspiration ahead of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet may have found it as they visited one of the most impressive football grounds in the world on Monday - the Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona.
Ferrer and Gasquet were welcomed to the club by Jordi Cardoner, vice president of FC Barcelona, and Jordi Penas, the director of the FC Barcelona museum. As well as being presented with replica shirts bearing their names, the pair were treated to a private tour of the Camp Nou, including a visit to the museum, which houses Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or awards, the shirt of legendary player Ronald Koeman, and FC Barcelona's countless trophies.
Ferrer, a Barcelona fan, had been to the ground many times before for matches, but never pitch side.
"I'm a supporter of Barcelona and it was very nice to have a chance to do the tour and be here in the Nou Camp," said Ferrer. "Lionel Messi is my favourite player. He's the best player in the world. I've never seen anyone like him."
The Spaniard is a four-time former finalist in Barcelona, losing to Rafael Nadal on each occasion. He is making his return from a calf injury this week, after being forced to miss the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, and faces Radek Stepanek in his opening second-round match.
Gasquet is seeded fourth at this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament and is looking to bounce back from a second-round exit in Monte-Carlo.
"It's important to be back in Barcelona," said Gasquet, who is playing here for the first time since 2011. "I hope I will play well. It's a favourite tournament for me, a historic one, a lot of big players won here. I like playing here.
"It was crazy to visit the [FC Barcelona] museum," continued Gasquet, who supports PSG. "It's an incredible experience for me, especially being on the pitch. It's so big, it's amazing. I'm a football fan and to be here in the Camp Nou, it's amazing for me.
Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a ninth title at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers on Wednesday. Nadal, who lifted his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Monfils) last week, leads Granollers 3-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Granollers struck 10 aces in a 6-4, 6-3 win over Daniel Munoz de la Nava for his second-round berth.
Roberto Bautista Agut, the fifth seed, experienced his first opening-round loss since June 2015 (London-Queen's Club, l. to Verdasco), early evening. Qualifier Karen Khachanov, part of the ATP's Next Generation, held his nerve to win 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3 in two hours and 25 minutes. Khachanov saved one match point to beat Aljaz Bedene on Monday.
A pair of Frenchmen also won in second-round action Tuesday. Sixth seed Benoit Paire defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 7-5, while No. 13 seed Jeremy Chardy posted a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Victor Estrella Burgos. Chardy awaits the winner between two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori and Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker. In a Barcelona first-round rematch, de Bakker once again got the better of Elias Ymer, prevailing against the 20-year-old Swede 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3.
Top Seeds Fall In Doubles
Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez also prevailed in a Match Tie-break, edging Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nenad Zimonjic 6-2, 3-6, 10-7, while Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi closed out a 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-7 win over Robert Lindstedt and Alexander Peya.
NextGen star Karen Khachanov out-rallies fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in this hot shot from the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Tuesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com Photo: Manuel Queimadelos/Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
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David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet get a special tour of the home of FC Barcelona. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Jordi Ramos / Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
See the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 18 April 2016.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares take ATP World Tour Uncovered behind the curtain for the annual Monte Carlo Rolex Masters players' revue.
ATP World Tour Uncovered goes behind the scenes at the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
Watch Monday highlights from the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest, including wins for Kyle Edmund and Damir Dzumhur plus an interview with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Photo: Raed Krishan/Gazeta Sporturilor
Watch highlights from Tuesday at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell, featuring wins for NextGen star Karen Khachanov and Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Manuel Queimadelos / Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
Get to know the Next Generation's Karen Khachanov, who talks about his Top 20 win over Roberto Bautista Agut and his start in tennis. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com
World No.1 Novak Djokovic was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the second year in a row. The Serb was on hand in Berlin to accept his award, dedicating it to Formula One driver Niki Lauda and footballer Johan Cruyff. Djokovic topped fellow star athletes Stephen Curry, Lewis Hamilton, Usain Bolt, Jordan Spieth and Lionel Messi for the award.April 18, 2016
"He had a great year again," said Djokovic's coach Boris Becker, a Laureus Academy member. "He's played 88 matches, has won 82, He won three out of the four Grand Slams, reached the final of the French Open, he’s won seven other tournaments. Very few players, if any, had a year like that."
He tweeted ahead of the ceremony:Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) April 18, 2016
Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili came back from the brink to overcome former finalist Nicolas Almagro 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 on Monday at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell. Almagro, the 2013 runner-up (l. to Nadal), made a first-round exit for just the second time in 13 appearances at this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament.
World No. 54 Gabashvili saved two match points while serving down 3-5 in the second set and broke Almagro to love in the next game. He clinched the victory after two hours and 11 minutes as he capitalised on his seventh match point opportunity.
There were mixed results for NextGen stars on Monday. Alexander Zverev, the 2015 ATP Star of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, dismissed fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-3. Zverev, who celebrates his 19th birthday on Wednesday, is currently at a career-high No. 51 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
South Korea's Hyeon Chung fell to Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-3, 6-4, while another 19 year old, qualifier Karen Khachanov, went the distance to defeat Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) in two hours and four minutes. Khachanov saved a match point in the 12th game of the third set, and recorded his first ATP World Tour main draw win since a quarter-final effort three years ago in Moscow.
Four-time finalist and No. 3 seed David Ferrer will start his Barcelona campaign against Radek Stepanek. The Czech qualifier, the oldest player in the main draw at 37 years of age, defeated Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 7-5.
A pair of Spaniards also advanced on the first day of main draw action. Wild card Albert Montanes beat countryman Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 6-3, while Inigo Cervantes advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.
Bryans Make Strong Start
Second seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan made a winning return in their first Barcelona appearance in four years. The Americans, champions in 2003 and '08, needed just 42 minutes to cruise past Benoit Paire and Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-1.
Take a look at qualifying matches at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy.
Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori play mini tennis at Tibidabo to launch the 2016 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Sergi Carmona
Eight-time former winner Rafael Nadal and two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori launched the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in style on Monday, playing tennis on top of Tibidabo Mountain to pose for a spectacular photo opportunity overlooking Barcelona.
Between them, Nadal and Nishikori have accounted for 10 of the past 11 editions of this historic ATP World Tour event.
The 29-year-old Nadal arrived straight from Monte-Carlo, where he captured his ninth Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters crown on Sunday with victory over Gael Monfils. After winning his first ATP World Tour title of the season last week, the Spaniard is now looking to regain the Barcelona title that he won from 2005-09 and 2011-13.
“I am very happy about the tournament in Monte Carlo," said Nadal, who is due to open his Barcelona campaign against either Marcel Granollers or Daniel Munoz de la Nava. "It’s one of the most important ones of the season. Yesterday was a great day. I played at a very high level during the entire week. But now I have to continue like this in the next tournaments.
“Athletes live for their victories. We have to fight hard to do well and achieve victories.
"The objective in 2016 is to be happy. I have to keep playing, but be happy above all. I am looking forward to the tournament.”
Playing his first clay-court tournament of the season, the 26-year-old Nishikori is looking to three-peat at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Barcelona, where he beat Santiago Giraldo in the 2014 final and Pablo Andujar last year.
"I want to win the tournament again,” said Nishikori, who faces either Thiemo de Bakker or wild card Elias Ymer in the second round. “This is my favourite tournament. The toughest 500 event, especially on clay, with all the Spanish players and Rafa in good shape. It will be a tough competition.
“I saw a little bit of the Monte-Carlo final yesterday. It was a great match. I think Rafa is in great shape and he is playing great tennis again. It is going to be a tough match if Rafa and I play the final, but it will be a great week.”
Two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori speaks about what he loves most about Barcelona and the tournament he's been so successful at. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Rafael Nadal reflects on his positive week in Monte-Carlo as he looks ahead to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Nicolas Almagro and Pablo Carreno Busta participate in a Peugeot kids' clinic, while Roberto Bautista Agut entertains questions from children at a press conference Sunday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.