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.
26 de septiembre 2018
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25 de septiembre 2018
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|Bayern Munich 1 Augsburg 1: Neuer error costs champions|
|Paris Saint-Germain must be a Champions League force to help Neymar - Baptista|
|Salgado warns of ´war´ in Spanish football|
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|Benitez charged by FA for referee comment relating to Zaha treatment|
|Cibulkova dumps out hampered Halep in Wuhan|
|Mourinho questions his players amid reports Pogba won´t captain United again|
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|USA Ryder Cup diary: Tiger´s roaring reception, McEnroe´s bold prediction|
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|Prolific Nadolo signs new Montpellier contract|
|Modric? For us, Messi is the best – Valverde|
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|Mickelson would cherish first victory on European soil|
|Hodge hoping pressure proves too much for South Africa|
|Woodward in show of support for under-fire Mourinho|
|Mickelson jokes he wants ´a shot a side´ from Tiger in Thanksgiving showdown|
|Reed: Captain America is a villain in Europe|
|Duminy to captain Proteas as Elgar replaces injured Amla|
|No Tottenham timeline for Lloris, Vorm returns|
|Woods ready for ´awesome environment´ on Ryder Cup opening hole|
|Tony Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Oleksandr Usyk|
|Tuchel explains why he likes Neymar at number 10|
|Manchester United smash revenue record but profits down|
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|Wow! Klopp hails Sarri´s Chelsea transformation|
|Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019|
|Bjorn backs ´phenomenal´ Rahm to continue trend of Spanish success|
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|Premier League ´interesting´ for Germany boss Low|
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