2010 Barcelona runner-up Robin Soderling begins his campaign against Ivan Dodig on Wednesday.
Soderling was the last man to beat Rafa Nadal on clay at the 2009 French Open and the Swede will almost certainly have to repeat the feat if he's going to pick up a first Barcelona title this year.
He came close last year, losing to Fernando Verdasco in the final. Soderling opted out of the Monte Carlo Masters last week, preferring to spend an extra week getting fully fit after struggling with injuries in Indian Wells and Miami.
Dodig is not particularly known for his clay-court prowess but the big serving Croatian has enjoyed the best spell of his career so far in 2011. He picked up the Zagreb title back at the start of February but did not fare too well in his first clay-court outing of the season, losing in straight sets to Tommy Robredo in Monte Carlo.
Soderling won their only previous match 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in Miami a couple of weeks ago despite not being fully fit.
Prediction: Soderling in straights.