Nadal beats Baghdatis in opener

Madrid, October 18:

Rafael Nadal’s beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-4 in his opening match at the Madrid Masters on Wednesday. The second-ranked Spaniard hasn’t played since the US Open due to his ailing joints.

Novak Djokovic saved all 10 break points before rallying to beat Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-3 in his opener. Djokovic will play another Spaniard in Juan Carlos Ferrero, who upset 14th-seeded Carlos Moya 7-6 (2), 6-4. Nadal, the 2005 champion, will face Andy Murray in the last 16.

In all, eight seeded players lost on Wednesday, a day after two others also fell out. Sixth-seeded James Blake lost 6-3, 6-4 to Mario Ancic. Wild card Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina lost the opening set tiebreaker but rallied to beat eighth-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3. Twenty-two aces weren’t enough for Ivan Ljubicic in a 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-5 loss to Austrian qualifier Stefan Koubek.

Earlier, Fifth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez saved seven set points in the first to win a tough match against Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (11), 7-5, while Ivo Karlovic hit 20 aces in beating Oscar Hernandez 7-5, 6-2.

Also, wild card Feliciano Lopez defeated seventh-seeded David Ferrer 7-6 (3), 7-5 in an all-Spanish matchup, David Nalbandian rallied to beat ninth-seeded Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), Paul-Henri Mathieu fought off 10th-seeded Richard Gasquet 7-6 (8), 7-5, and Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer beat 16th-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-1, 6-3.