Barcelona Open: Rafael Nadal battles from set down to reach last 16

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is hoping to win his 12th French Open title in May

Rafael Nadal avoided successive shock losses on clay as he began his Barcelona Open title defence with a 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-2 win over Leonardo Mayer.

The top seed, 32, lost to Fabio Fognini on Saturday in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals, and on Wednesday struggled at times against Argentine Mayer.

The 11-time French Open champion will now play fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the last 16.

Ferrer, 37, recorded a 6-3 6-1 win over 15th seed Lucas Pouille.

Also through is Argentine Guido Pella who beat sixth seedKaren Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Another seed to fall in the last 32 was French 11th seed Gilles Simon, beaten 6-3 6-3 by USA's Mackenzie McDonald.

There was no such hiccup for Russian seventh seed Daniil Medvedev who defeated Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 2-6 6-1.

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