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Rafael Nadal Barcelona Open Odds: Spaniard 8/11 to beat Flavio Cobolli in straight sets

Rafael Nadal is 2/9 to defeat Flavio Cobolli on his return to competitive action at the Barcelona Open.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion has not participated in any tournament since withdrawing from the Brisbane International in January due to a muscle tear.

Nadal had targeted Indian Wells as the competition to make his comeback but the 37-year-old opted to delay his return, suggesting he was "not ready to play at the highest level".

With another month to recover, Nadal is pencilled in to compete again and where better than at the Barcelona Open, an event he has won on a record-breaking 12 occasions.

ATP Barcelona

Nadal, if he declares himself fit to play, is 8/11 to win his first round match in straight sets, while a Cobolli victory is available at 10/3.

For those expecting Nadal to be taken the distance, three sets in the match is priced at 13/8.

We have a number of Bet Boosts available on the match which can be found HERE.

Should Nadal overcome Cobolli, he will set up a fascinating encounter with fourth seed Alex de Minaur.

The pair have met on four previous occasions and Nadal has been triumphant in three of those meetings, though De Minaur was victorious when the duo last met at the United Cup in January 2023.

Who is Flavio Cobolli?

Nadal's first round opponent, Flavio Cobolli, enjoyed an impressive breakthrough year on the ATP Tour in 2023, debuting in the top 100 of the ATP rankings and winning his second ATP Challenger Tour title.

The 21-year-old appeared in the 2023 Next Generation Finals, an event that has hosted some of the sport's greatest emerging talents in recent years, including Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Making his Australian Open debut this year, Cobolli recorded surprise victories over Nicolas Jarry and Pavel Kotov to reach the third round and his progression in the tournament resulted in him achieving a career-high ranking, with the Italian now No.62 in the world.

French Open preparations

There is little over a month to go until the second Grand Slam of the year and Nadal needs competitive matches under his belt if he's to give himself any chance of securing a record-extending 15th French Open crown.

Last year's tournament was the first without Nadal since 2004 and it was Novak Djokovic who prevailed, winning his third French Open title after defeating Casper Ruud in straight sets.

Nadal's record at Roland Garros is imperious, winning 112 of his 115 matches at the venue and emerging triumphant in 14 of the 18 French Open's he's competed in.

He is the 5/1 fourth-favourite to be victorious in Paris, behind the likes of Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic and Jannik Sinner in the market.

At the start of the year, the Spaniard had outlined his intentions to compete at the French Open and the Olympics, but those plans will depend entirely on the condition of Nadal's body over the coming weeks.

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