Rafael Nadal
Fourth seed Nadal seeks winning start in Madrid Reuters

Fourth seed Rafael Nadal takes on unseeded Fabio Fognini in the second-round clash of 2017 Madrid Open at the Manzanares Park Tennis Center on Wednesday.

The tie, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been pushed a day back after the Spaniard reportedly revealed he had been suffering from an ear infection, because of which he had trouble sleeping.

Having an extra day's rest is expected to help the four-time champion, who has been undefeated ever since he stepped on the red dirt in the new season.

Nadal will take on his familiar foe Fognini, who has progressed to the second round of the ongoing tournament after beating Joao Sousa yesterday. The 14-time Grand Slam champion has a superior head-to-head record over the Italian, beating him 8 times in their 11 meetings in the past. However, Fognini has troubled Nadal enough on clay, getting the better of his higher-ranked opponent twice in six meetings.

Nonetheless, Nadal has looked unbeatable on clay this season so far dropping only one set in 10 matches. Despite the concern over his ear infection, he is well-placed to fend away the tricky challenge from Fognini, who failed to get past the opening round at Monte Carlo Masters, Budapest and Munich.

On the other hand, Nadal, who finished as runner-up thrice on hard courts this year - Australian Open, Acapulco and Miami - broke his title drought with an easy stroll to the top step of the podium at Monte Carlo. The southpaw continued his dominance in Barcelona to win a record 10th title there and is looking for a strong start in Madrid.