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Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori kick off Barcelona Open campaigns

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to France's Gael Monfils
Image: Spain's Rafael Nadal is top seed

Rafael Nadal returns to the clay courts of Barcelona on Wednesday to play Marcel Granollers.

The Spaniard is the top seed at his home tournament and you can watch his first match live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 12.30pm.

Nadal is fresh off a title at the Monte Carlo Masters and heads into this week's Barcelona event seeking back-to-back clay courts championships in the build-up to the French Open.

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Highlights as Nadal beat Gael Monfils in Monte Carlo final

His third-round opponent, Granollers, is competing in his hometown but, as the world No 50, has been handed the toughest possible opening draw.

Nadal has won all three of their career meetings to date, with one coming on clay in Rome four years ago.

One to watch

Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Barcelona Open
Image: Rafael Nadal (left) and Kei Nishikori pose with the trophy

Japan's Kei Nishikori is the defending champion in Barcelona and opens his campaign against Thiemo de Bakker.

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It will be their second career meeting (Nishikori won the first earlier this year) and is likely to provide the Japanese champion with a routine first challenge. But his prowess on the red dirt, having won the competition last year, will send a warning to the rest of the field.

Surprise in store?

World No 51 Alexander Zverev into round two
Image: Alexander Zverev is always an exciting watch

The unseeded Alexander Zverev will fancy his chances of progressing past world No 35 Thomaz Bellucci.

Zverev, the 18-year-old from Germany, is rated as the sport's top teenage prospect and has won both of his previous matches against Brazil's Bellucci.

Watch the Barcelona Open on Wednesday live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 12.30pm.

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