Tennis

Nadal and Federer ease through to third round

Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, during a match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California. Photo: AP

Rafael Nadal returns a shot to Leonardo Mayer of Argentina, during a match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Darron Cummings

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Two-time champion Rafael Nadal and triple winner Roger Federer barely raised a sweat as they cruised into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with imperious victories on Sunday.

Spaniard Nadal ruthlessly dealt with Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-3 before Swiss maestro Federer eased past American wild card Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-1.

Left-hander Nadal, who has reached the semifinals at Indian Wells in his last six appearances, broke Mayer twice in each set to wrap up a commanding win in one hour, 15 minutes. In dazzling afternoon sunshine, the match ended when a Mayer forehand sailed wide and Nadal removed his green headband in triumph, as the near-capacity crowd erupted in applause.

“It's nice to be back playing at a very good level,” said the Spaniard, who will face compatriot Marcel Granollers next. “Winning is the most important thing. It's not easy to be back after a while without competition, but I did really well. I started the match very focused and aggressive. I'm very happy about almost everything.”

Nadal, who dominated Mayer with his crunching ground strokes from behind the baseline, had not competed since he lost an epic Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January. The World No.2 enjoys a superb record at Indian Wells, where he won titles in 2007 and 2009 and was beaten in last year's final by Djokovic.

Granollers had earlier booked his place in the third round with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win against Germany's Tommy Haas.

World No.3 Federer, who is shaking off a flu bug and slight temperature, broke Kudla twice in the opening set and three times in the second to wrap up a one-sided victory in under an hour.

Federer, who won three consecutive titles at Indian Wells from 2004, next faces towering Canadian Milos Raonic, a 6-4, 6-2 winner against Argentina's Carlos Berlocq.

Ferrer progresses

In other matches, fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer crushed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2, David Nalbandian of Argentina battled past Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6(3), 7-6(4) and Serbian Janko Tipsarevic beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 6-2.

Kvitova upset

On the women's side, Christina McHale rallied to upset Czech Kvitova in three sets 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“She's moving very well, so she played a lot of shots back,” Kvitova said. “My serve was not too good. So it was tough.”

McHale finished the match by winning her service game to love, with a backhand slice winner sealing the victory.

Top seed Victoria Azarenka defeated two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2, extending her season-long winning streak to 19-0.

World No. 1 Azarenka advanced to the fourth round where she will face Julia Goerges, who beat Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 6-4.

Storming back

Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina recovered from a second-set lapse against Timea Bacsinszky and Alberta Brianti to advance to the women's doubles quarterfinals. The second seeded Indo-Russian pair scored a 6-1, 3-6, 10-2 victory.

The results (BNP Paribas Open ATP/WTA tournament):

Men: Second round: Denis Istomin bt Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 7-5; Fernando Verdasco bt Ryan Sweeting 6-2, 6-2; Juan Martin del Potro bt Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-2; Nikolay Davydenko bt Bjorn Phau 7-5, 6-2; Marcos Baghdatis bt Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4; Marcel Granollers bt Tommy Haas 6-3, 2-6, 6-3; Rafael Nadal bt Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-3; Thomaz Belluci bt Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-3; Janko Tipsarevic bt Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-2; David Ferrer bt Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Michael Llodra 4-1 retd.; Radek Stepanek bt Xavier Malisse 6-2, 6-1; David Nalbandian bt Marin Cilic 7-6(3), 7-6(4); Milos Raonic bt Carlos Berlocq 6-4, 6-2; Alexandr Dolgopolov bt Steve Darcis 6-7(13), 6-3, 7-5; Roger Federer bt Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-1.

Women: Third round: Victoria Azarenka bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-2; Julia Goerges bt Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-4; Li Na bt Zheng Jie 6-1, 6-3; Christina McHale bt Petra Kvitova 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; Agnieszka Radwanska bt Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-2.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:19:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/nadal-and-federer-ease-through-to-third-round/article2986788.ece

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