Rafa is trying to defend his world no.1 rank against the assault of Novak Djokovic. In order to do that, the Spaniard needs to have the same performance of the Serb in Paris. This means that since Djokovic is already in the 3rd round, Nadal needs to win his opening match to keep his leadership in the rankings. This is also the first time that the Spaniard plays after withdrew in the semifinal of the US Open.
Ranked no.27, Fernando had a couple of nice runs in the last 2 months after he reached the semifinals in both Shenzhen and Vienna. The Spaniard got to the 2nd round in Bercy after he dispatched the home favorite Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-4.
H2H Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
Nadal leads Verdasco 16-3 in H2H matches, 8-2 on hard courts. This could be a tricky opener for the world no.1