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Nadal battles through

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:05

Nadal, whose next opponent is 15th seed Richard Gasquet, has found Gulbis a tough nut to crack before. In their only previous meeting the Spaniard eventually triumphed 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7/2) 6-3 en route to winning the Wimbledon title this summer, and it was a similar story in Madrid on Tuesday.

Thirteenth seed Fernando Verdasco was one of the highest profile casualties of the day losing 6-2 6-3 to Marin Cilic.

Verdasco was not the only seeded player unable to negotiate his first hurdle though – the top 16 players all got first-round byes – as American James Blake was also knocked out on Tuesday.

Blake, seeded 11, managed to take the first set in his clash with Gilles Simon, but it was the Frenchman who would end up triumphant with a 3-6 6-1 6-4 victory.

Fifteenth seed Gasquet was also put to the test before recovering from dropping the first set to beat American Mardy Fish 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 6-3.

Those were the only five second-round matches played on Tuesday, although there were eight first-round games.

Among them saw another big-name player sent tumbling out as Spaniard Carlos Moya was thrashed 6-2 6-2 by Austrian Philip Kohlschreiber.

In the other first-round matches, three Frenchman were sent tumbling as Paul Henri Mathieu, Michael Llodra and Florent Serra lost to Marcel Granollers, Robby Ginepri and Robin Soderling respectively.

Another Frenchman, Gael Monfils, had a better time of it though as he saw off Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-4, while in the other encounters Jarkko Nieminen beat Mikhail Youzhny and Victor Hanescu knocked out Dmitry Tursunov in a pair of three-setters.

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