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Nadal vs Struff ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Nadal faces powerful Struff for the first time in quarter-finals

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 26 Apr 2019
  • Rafael Nadal vs Jan-Lennard Struff is live from Barcelona around 3.30pm local time on Friday (2.30pm BST)
  • It's the first career meeting between the pair
Rafael Nadal (PA Images)

Rafael Nadal continues his bid for a 12th Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title when he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff for the first time in the quarter-finals on Friday.

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World No. 2 Rafael Nadal faces a first-time meeting with the powerful Jan-Lennard Struff as he targets a spot in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell semi-finals on Friday.

It hasn’t been the dominant start to the European clay season we’ve been so used to seeing from Nadal for the better part of the last decade, with the King of Clay suffering a shock defeat to Fabio Fognini in the Monte-Carlo Masters semi-finals last week, while he was stretched to three sets in his Barcelona opener by Leonardo Mayer earlier this week. However, while he’s still far from his best level, Nadal managed a clinical and efficient win in the Round of 16 on Thursday, ending the Barcelona career of compatriot and good friend David Ferrer, prevailing 6-3 6-3 and improving his head-to-head over Ferrer to 26-6 and 6-0 in Barcelona.

"Big difference. It was a tough match in all ways yesterday. Today was a different energy, a different motivation. In general terms, for me, I needed to play with a different attitude to make a step forward, and that's what I did today," Nadal said.

Nadal has improved his record in Barcelona to 60-3 this week as he aims for a 12th title at the ATP 500 tournament. Nadal won his first Barcelona title in 2005 when the finals were still best-of-five sets and has won the silverware in every year since apart from 2010, 2014 and 2015, where Fernando Verdasco and Kei Nishikori emerged triumphant, the latter in back-to-back years. Nadal is currently on a 17-match winning streak in Barcelona, with his last loss coming - once again - to Fognini in the Round of 16 in 2015.

While we’re not used to seeing Nadal being pushed on clay, at least early in tournaments and against players other than Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, it’s not entirely surprising it’s happening at the moment. The 32-year-old wasn’t even a sure thing to compete in January as he recovered from multiple injury problems, but after making the Australian Open final, Nadal was ousted in the second round of Acapulco by Nick Kyrgios and was forced to withdraw ahead of the Indian Wells semi-finals due to a knee injury. That’s not an entirely convincing form line to bring into the clay season, but if he can remain somewhat injury free, surely Nadal’s game will start flowing more smoothly as time goes on.


Meanwhile, Jan-Lennard Struff is in the midst of compiling the best season of his career in 2019, reaching the Barcelona Open quarter-finals for the first time with straight sets victories over Hugo Dellien and David Goffin, before taking out last year’s runner-up and current World No. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets on Thursday for the fourth top 10 win of his career. It was an excellent performance from Struff, who lost to Tsitsipas in straight sets in Sofia earlier this season, with the German firing 31 winners to knock out the Greek by a 6-4 3-6 6-2 scoreline.

Struff has improved his 2019 record to a solid 12-8, with the 28-year-old also making the semi-finals of Auckland and beating World No. 3 Alexander Zverev on his way to the fourth round of Indian Wells, while Struff also scored a top 20 win over Denis Shapovalov in Monte-Carlo last week. All up, it’s a promising run of form for Struff, who has always had the brute firepower to be ranked much higher, but he’s been let down by is inconsistency and inability to produce his best tennis week to week and even match to match. Struff is yet to make an ATP final and didn’t even make a semi-final last season (he did reach the third rounds of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open), but his form this season bodes well for the future.

Struff has nothing to lose when he comes up against Nadal for the first time on Friday. The German has the power to worry Nadal in this sort of form, but Struff will have to absolutely redline his game for over two hours if he wants to cause a massive upset, and that’s just not realistically going to happen. Nadal is still far from his best, but on Barcelona clay, he’ll be able to carve out a routine win, if not recapture some of his best tennis and make this a one-sided affair.


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Nadal vs Struff ATP Barcelona live streaming, preview and tips - Nadal faces powerful Struff for the first time in quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal continues his bid for a 12th Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title when he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff for the first time in the quarter-finals on Friday.

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