Indian Wells (United States), March 11: World number two Rafael Nadal raced into the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters as Roger Federer made a less speedy but still successful start to his quest for a sixth title.
Roger Federer of Switzerland, reacts after defeating Peter Gojowczyk of Germany, 6-1, 7-5, at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, on Sunday. – AP/PTI
Nadal, a three-time Indian Wells winner, needed just 72 minutes to get past overmatched Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-1 on Sunday.
Federer, who is seeking to break out of a tie with top seed Novak Djokovic for most titles in the California desert, looked set for a similarly easy time of it, but had to turn back a second-set challenge from German Peter Gojowczyk in a 6-1, 7-5 win.
Fourth-seeded Federer said he was relieved not to go to a second-set tiebreaker after falling behind 3-1 to the free-swinging German who is ranked 85th in the world.
The Swiss regained the break and, after saving four break points to make it 4-4, he broke Gojowczyk for a 6-5 lead, the German double-faulting on break point to give Federer a chance to serve it out.
Nadal, playing his third tournament of a year that started with a crushing loss to Djokovic in the Australian Open final and included an early exit in Acapulco, converted five of his six break chances against Donaldson and never faced a break point himself.
He next faces Diego Schwartzman, who beat Spain’s Roberto Carbralles 6-3, 6-1. Nadal is 6-0 against the Argentinian.
In other early matches, sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan survived a scare in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino.
Mannarino, ranked 52nd in the world, served for the match at 6-5 in the third. He couldn’t muster a match point and double-faulted on break point and that was enough of a window for Nishikori.
Nishikori next faces 67th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, who defeated France’s Lucas Pouille 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Eighth-seeded American John Isner routed Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-0, 6-2, the most lopsided win of Isner’s career. – AFP