Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal prevailed over Albert Ramos' long rallies to move into round three of the Barcelona Open, while fellow Spaniard David Ferrer ran out of luck as he was ousted by Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.
The 62nd edition of the tournament saw the top ranked player struggle his way past the 103rd ranked Spanish compatriot 7-6 (2), 6-4. Nadal, who has a 41-1 record in Barcelona, having won eight titles in the last nine years, shockingly lost to Ferrer in Monte Carlo only five days ago and will look to overcome that disaapointment in Barcelona.
"It was a positive victory for me," Nadal said. "Obviously I didn't play my best match, but after the defeat in Monte Carlo, the next match on court was never going to be easy.
"I am happy with the way I fought and proud of the victory today. The victories are more important when you haven't played well. I feel happy to be through on a tough day for the top seeds."
The 27-year-old Mallorcan has a staggering record of 301-22 on all clay courts having achieved the landmark 300th win in Monte Carlo last week. Winning the Barcelona Open title for the ninth time this year would earn him his 44th clay court title.
If the top seed fought through the second round, the second seed couldn't. When Ferrer faced Gabashvili in Miami this year, the Russian had managed to win only four games in the match. In Barcelona, he took his revenge beating the Spaniard quite convincingly 6-4, 6-2. The four-time finalist Ferrer failed to convert most of his break points as the 55th ranked Russian cruised to his third victory over a top-10 player and his first time in eight attempts to reach round three of the Barcelona Open.
World no. 5 Ferrer lost to a Russian opponent for the second straight year. The 32-year-old lost to Dmitry Tursunov in the same stage last year.
"This was one of my best victories; no in fact it is my best ever, beating David Ferrer," the 28-year-old Gabashvili said. His earlier wins include the one against Andy Roddick in the Roland Garros four years ago. "I went into the game knowing that I had to be steady and controlled which is what I managed to do."
Meanwhile, two more Spaniards advanced to round three. Sixth seed Nicolas Almagro stood ground in a close match against Slovak Martin Klizan 7-5, 7-6 (4) while Albert Montanes beat eighth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6 (5), 6-3.
"It was a tough match, he gets a lot of balls back and makes life difficult," Montanes told reporters. "I'm very pleased to have gotten through in straight sets.
"I'm playing well and my confidence is high, it's a good moment for me. The secret right now seems to be in good mental preparation."