Rafael Nadal's chances of winning an 11th Barcelona Open title were markedly improved by the exits of Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori, although Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov progressed to round three on Wednesday.
World number one Nadal was tested by Spanish compatriot Roberto Carballes Baena, but – playing on the court named in his honour – he ultimately recorded a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win.
Nadal consequently extended the record for most consecutive sets won on clay to 38, and will next meet Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who went through after Nishikori withdrew.
The Japanese – a losing finalist to Nadal in Monte Carlo last week – lost the first set 6-3 and later said he had "pain in three different parts of my body while warming up", the biggest of which was in his right calf.
Djokovic's disappointing 2018 continued in a 6-2 1-6 6-3 loss to Martin Klizan, the 12-time major winner having been a late addition to the draw following a round-three loss to Thiem in Monte Carlo.
There was better news for Thiem, a finalist in Barcelona a year ago, who saved set point in the opener en route to a 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory over Spanish wildcard Jaume Munar.
ATP Finals victor Grigor Dimitrov, who reached the Monte Carlo semi-finals, was in sublime form in his 6-2- 6-1 win over Gilles Simon.
Jozef Kovalik, Albert Ramos Vinolas, Pablo Carreno-Busta, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov and Pablo Andujar were also among Wednesday's round-two winners.
At the Hungarian Open, third seed Richard Gasquet was shocked 6-4 7-6 (7-4) by world number 159 Lorenzo Sonego, while Damir Dzumhur (2) also suffered an early exit in a 6-3 6-1 loss to Marco Cecchinato.
Aljaz Bedene and Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Bublik respectively to reach round three.
Mikhail Youzhny moved to within three wins of 500 ATP victories having completed a 6-3 6-3 triumph over Tour debutant Zsombor Piros in a first-round contest held over from Tuesday.
20 de octubre 2018
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|Conte, Zidane and the AC Milan contenders clouding Gattuso´s future|
|Koepka in control in South Korea, on track to become world number one|
|Dovizioso grabs pole at Motegi, Marquez sixth|
|Langer backs Marsh for ODI squad|
|Butler turns boos to MVP chants in Timberwolves´ first win|
|Brewers force game seven against Dodgers in NLCS|
|Guardiola admits Hart decision may have been a mistake|
|Vieira: Balotelli the same now as he was at 16|
|Butragueno backs under-fire Lopetegui|
|Liverpool´s defensive improvement has hurt attack – Klopp|
|Butler booed by Timberwolves fans during introductions|
|Pochettino: Dier´s Ramos tackle highlighted Spurs´ attitude|
|Man City working on new deal for Sane – Guardiola|
|Golden Knights sign RW Tuch to seven-year extension|
|Bryant explains how Lakers could beat Warriors|
|Finals hopefuls Isner, Fognini into Stockholm semis|
|Browns trade running back Hyde to Jaguars|
|Mourinho: I´d love to have Hazard at Manchester United|
|Hamilton´s title chances enhanced by Vettel´s grid penalty|
19 de octubre 2018
|Deja vu for Enisei as La Rochelle inflict another thrashing|
|Five-star Jovic makes Bundesliga history|
|Liverpool´s scoring slump no concern for cautious Klopp|
|He´s the Special One - Sarri insists he is not on Mourinho´s level yet|
|Second-half blitz guides Leicester to European success|
|Sheffield Wednesday 1 Middlesbrough 2: Besic, Assombalonga see off Owls|
|Goerges rallies to reach Luxembourg Open final, Jabeur makes history|
|Howe: Transfer speculation will not disrupt Ake|
|´Do we really want opera every night?´ - Klopp not changing Nations League view|
|Vile and abhorrent – Chelsea´s Carney responds to online abuse|
|Giants WR Beckham Jr. explains why he might cramp up: ´I really don´t like water´|
|Man City pay training-pitch tribute to Joe Hart|
|Neymar to be rested as Tuchel rubbishes Ballon d´Or concerns|
|Sarri ´not interested´ in Christensen father´s quit threat|
|Cardinals fire offensive coordinator McCoy after 1-6 start|
|Neymar return unlikely, but anything can happen – Valverde|
|Bairstow a doubt for fourth ODI|
|Manchester United fined for late arrival and delayed kick-off against Valencia|
|Australia-Pakistan chat not ´especially polite´ - Sarfraz|
|Pogba relishing ´pressure game´ against in-form Hazard|
|Don´t bet on Cardiff survival, warns Warnock|
|Buffon enjoying Tuchel´s methods at PSG|
|RIP to Wimbledon epics! Isner feels like The Undertaker following final-set tie-break rule|
|Sevilla performance sealed Bernat´s Bayern exit - Hoeness|
|Keita set to miss out as Liverpool monitor injured stars|
|He didn´t want to be here – Guardiola doubts Sancho will return to Manchester City|
|Sarri: Manchester United are the best in the Premier League|
|Mourinho salutes ´brave´ Shaw for ´best possible´ response to criticism|
|No Ballon d´Or distractions for Griezmann, insists Simeone|
|Wigan stand by Hardaker as full-back prepares to undergo rehabilitation|
|Barcelona deny Neymar talk|
|Hazard can win the Ballon d´Or as a Chelsea player, insists Sarri|
|De Bruyne in contention to start in Manchester City´s clash with Burnley|
|Neymar needs to mature to reach Messi levels - Xavi|
|We have a hell of a lot to do - Paine slams Australia batting|
|Kerber and Osaka to meet at WTA Finals|
|Lorenzo out of Japanese MotoGP|
|Real Madrid handed Africa trip in Copa del Rey|
|Allegri: Ronaldo has sharpened Juventus focus|
|No Wade in Wasps squad amid NFL reports|
|Rooney: Five of us controlled Man United dressing room|
|Bayern bosses launch scathing attack on ´disrespectful´ media|
|Saints lock in Lawes to new deal|
|Adelaide United 1 Sydney 1: Debutant Le Fondre rescues a point|
|Madrid can´t look back, only forward - Lopetegui confident of revival|
|Wimbledon to introduce final-set tie-breaks|
|Abbas inspires Pakistan to series victory|
|Madrid boss Lopetegui hopeful on Bale availability|
|Mood is positive at Bayern, insists under-pressure Kovac|
|LeBron offers food for thought after losing Lakers debut|