Rafael Nadal's much-anticipated comeback at Barcelona was cut short by the formidable Alex de Minaur on April 17. De Minaur, seeded fourth, showcased an exceptional level of play, defeating Nadal in straight sets with a score of 7-5, 6-1.

Throughout the match, which lasted just under two hours, De Minaur's agility and strategic use of drop shots put Nadal's physical fitness to the test. Despite Nadal's efforts to reclaim his former dominance, the first set saw him struggling to keep pace with De Minaur's relentless attacks. The Australian's momentum only grew stronger in the second set, where he achieved a double break lead and showcased an impenetrable service game, leaving Nadal unable to score a single point on De Minaur's serve.

This victory improved De Minaur's record against the 12-time Barcelona champion to 2-3 in their head-to-head encounters. He also created a bit of history with the win as he

became the first Australian to defeat Nadal on clay.

Looking ahead, De Minaur is set to face either the 16th seed Arthur Fils or German contender Daniel Altmaier, promising more thrilling action on the clay courts.

For Nadal, this tournament marked his second appearance in 2024 and his first since reaching the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 event in Brisbane earlier in January. After overcoming Flavio Cobolli in the initial round, Nadal's journey was halted by De Minaur's superior play.

Despite this setback, Nadal's legacy in Barcelona remains unparalleled, with a remarkable record of 67-5 across 17 editions of the tournament. His history of triumphs in Barcelona, beginning with his first title in 2005 and most recently in 2021.

Nadal will now be preparing for the French Open at Roland Garros after getting direct entry to the event via protected ranking.
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