'Better mentality' key to improved Nadal showing
Rafael Nadal took a greater deal of satisfaction from his victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Thursday, having struggled at times against Roberto Carballes Baena in the previous round.
The world number one is the clear favourite to defend his Barcelona Open title and claim his 11th crown at the ATP 500 event but, after a first-round bye, he was less than convincing against Carballes Baena on Wednesday, falling a break behind in the first set.
He recovered swiftly to secure a 6-4 6-4 success and he looked in fine shape 24 hours later as another compatriot was swatted aside 6-1 6-3.
Nadal goes into his quarter-final against Martin Klizan on the back of 16 straight clay-court victories, while he was won each of his last 40 sets on the dirt, and the Spaniard felt the mental side of his game was in a better place against Garcia-Lopez.
"Today I went out on the court with a better mentality than yesterday," he said. "I had a clear idea of what I had to do to win.
"I made a great first set although I was a bit clueless when I got 4-0 in the second set, the opponent gained confidence and began to play more aggressive.
"I have a good dynamic, winning seven [matches] in a row before arriving here, two in the [Davis] Cup and five in Monte Carlo.
"However, whenever you get to a different tournament, it gives you a bit of a slump. Roberto played very well yesterday, I did not find my game at the beginning of the match.
"I felt very uncomfortable due to his game, I gradually got into the court, improving and taking the victory."