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.
11 de diciembre 2018
|He´s good at basketball – Kerr running out of superlatives for Curry|
|Green thrilled to make Warriors return in victory over Timberwolves|
|Madrid squad great and humble - Solari responds to Ronaldo|
|Langer unsure what to expect from Perth wicket|
|Fournette subjected to alleged racial abuse in Titans loss - Marrone|
|Better and better - Mbappe hails Neymar link|
|It´s the end of one of the best movies you could ever see - James pays tribute to retiring Wade|
|NASA invites Curry to see moon rocks|
|No plan B for LaLiga Miami game after Barcelona withdrawal|
|Messi´s English haul, Neymar eyes hat-trick record - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|LeBron trumps Wade in last dance, Curry scores 38 points|
|Seahawks secure dominant win over Vikings|
|Iniesta visits Messi and former club Barcelona|
|Drake makes plea for ball thrown into stands after Miami miracle|
|´Toughest pretty boy I´ve ever met´ - Langer dismisses Paine concerns|
|Van Dijk says Liverpool can challenge for double ahead of Napoli decider|
|Hazard: I´ve always loved Real Madrid|
|Yankees interested in Machado, not Harper - Cashman|
|Warriors´ Curry believes moon landing was faked|
|76ers star Butler suffers strained groin|
|Brady: Patriots still have a lot of football to play|
|´No one died´ - Belichick´s message to Patriots after stunning loss|
|Silva lauds Digne after stunning free-kick|
|Aduriz joins Messi, Ramos in LaLiga history books|
|We have a plan - Ravens coach Harbaugh prepared for Flacco return|
|´It´s difficult to accept´ - Gracia calls for introduction of VAR|
|LaLiga press on with overseas match plan despite Barcelona withdrawal|
|PSG open Coupe de France defence at fifth-tier Pontivy|
10 de diciembre 2018
|Hazard backs Sterling as Neville reveals England star´s Euro 2016 concerns|
|Everton 2 Watford 2: Digne salvages draw with 96th-minute free-kick|
|Barcelona could ´steal´ Kane, says Pochettino|
|Oakland Raiders fire general manager McKenzie|
|Struggling Villarreal appoint Garcia Plaza as Calleja successor|
|Warriors assign Cousins to G League team|
|Barcelona pull out of plan to play LaLiga game in Miami|
|Pochettino to keep an eye on Inter when Spurs face Barcelona|
|Pochettino confirms Walker-Peters set to start against Barcelona|
|Denver Nuggets add free agent Young|
|Topping Group A no magic wand for an easy knockout draw, says Simeone|
|The cake has been made, now we need the cherry - Ancelotti targets repeat at Anfield|
|Lloris braced to face ´one of the best in history´ in Messi|
|Tuchel expects Neymar to face Red Star|
|Foden signs Manchester City deal to 2024|
|It happened to me! - Valverde laughs off Dembele timekeeping|
|´Projecting´ an Argentina return? Messi met with AFA president and Scaloni|
|Erasmus expects to leave head coach role after World Cup|
|Chelsea issue suspensions pending investigation into Sterling incident|
|Kane is extraordinary – Valverde hails reported Barcelona target|
|Man behind Naomi Osaka´s rise wins WTA Coach of the Year|
|England name unchanged Test squad as Willey returns for West Indies ODIs|
|Spalletti: No issue with Icardi watching Superclasico in Madrid|
|Klopp confirms 2013 talks with ´chatty´ Napoli president De Laurentiis|
|Sri Lanka spinner Dananjaya suspended due to illegal action|
|His reaction was just brilliant – Klopp praises Sterling for response to abuse|
|Gomez renewal a ´smart decision´ for both parties – Klopp|
|Magnificent Molinari named European Golfer of the Year|
|Barcelona best option for Frenkie de Jong, insists midfielder´s father|
|Gronkowski on Miami Miracle: ´Got to make that tackle´|
|Tottenham youngster Walker-Peters signs on until 2023|
|Juventus ´more of a family´ than Real Madrid - Ronaldo|
|Kingsley Coman contemplates retirement if injury nightmare continues|
|McVay ´sick´ over offensive failings as Rams coach takes blame for loss|
|Calleja axed as Villarreal coach|
|Kenyan Drake on Miami Miracle: I couldn´t let Gronk tackle me!|
|Ronaldo: I deserved Ballon d´Or, the numbers don´t lie|
|Rugby Australia to make Cheika decision this month|
|England defender Gomez signs new Liverpool deal|
|Ronaldo wants to see Messi follow him to Italy|
|Neymar happy to play in any position for PSG - Draxler|
|Paine insists he is ´fine´ after taking blow to finger|