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Davydenko seals spot in last 16

WORLD No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko beat Frenchman Arnaud Clement 7-6, 6-2 yesterday to seal a place in the last 16 of the Barcelona Open.

The Russian third seed only converted two of his 11 break points but it was enough to put him in the next round where he will face a Spaniard in either 16th seed Feliciano Lopez or qualifier Santiago Ventura.

Tomas Berdych, the number 15 seed, booked his place in the third round with a battling 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Spain's Oscar Hernandez on the clay in the Catalan capital.

The Czech will play the winner of the match between Spain's Fernando Verdasco and Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador for a place in the quarterfinals.

World No. 1 and top seed Rafael Nadal, champion for the past four years, will begin his title defense against Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil.

Nadal became the first man to win the Monte Carlo Masters five times in a row when he beat Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final and is favorite for a fifth consecutive French Open title when the claycourt grand slam starts in five weeks.

On Tuesday, former French Open champion Gaston Gaudio won his first match in nearly two years by beating Argentine compatriot Diego Junqueira 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Gaudio, the Barcelona winner seven years ago, converted six of his seven break opportunities and rallied from a break down in the final set for his first victory at ATP level since the 2007 French Open, a span of 23 months.

"It's always nice to win after being out for so long, but I'm hardly at a level where I can be happy," said the 30-year-old Gaudio, the 2004 French champ who was No. 966 in the world rankings. "Tennis is bad business for me, but being away from it is even worse."

Fourth-seeded David Ferrer ousted Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Seeded players Radek Stepanek, Robin Soderling, Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez all won.


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