Past champs Djokovic, Federer, Nadal win at Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — owners of a combined 44 Grand Slam titles and 12 of the past 13 trophies at Indian Wells — all earned straight-set victories Sunday to get started at the BNP Paribas Open.
A day after No. 1 Andy Murray was upset by 129th-ranked qualifier Vasek Pospisil, the other members of the so-called “Big 4” of men’s tennis moved into the third round after first-round byes. [restrict]
And the entire distinguished trio — Federer has a record 18 major titles, Nadal 14, Djokovic 12 — is packed into the same section of the draw.
Federer and longtime rival Nadal could meet in the fourth round, with the winner possibly advancing to face Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
On Sunday, the No. 2-seeded Djokovic was a bit shaky at times while winning 6-4, 7-6 (5) against Kyle Edmund of Britain.
“First match played, already a big test,” three-time defending champion Djokovic told the crowd afterward.
No. 5 Nadal beat Guido Pella of Argentina 6-3, 6-2, and No. 9 Federer produced 14 of the match’s initial 15 winners while overwhelming Stephane Robert of France 6-2, 6-1 in only 51 minutes at night.
Djokovic has won the title at Indian Wells a total of five times, including the past three in a row. Federer is a four-time champion at the hard-court tournament, and Nadal won it three times. Since 2004, the only other man to win the championship was Ivan Ljubicic, who is one of Federer’s coaches.
Djokovic next faces 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who beat the Serb in a thrilling match at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year. Nadal plays No. 26 Fernando Verdasco, and Federer meets No. 24 Steve Johnson.
In other matches Sunday, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, the No. 6 seed, lost to 19-year-old American Taylor Fritz 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, No. 4 Kei Nishikori topped Dan Evans 6-3, 6-4, No. 12 Grigor Dimitrov eliminated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-0, No. 15 Nick Kyrgios beat Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4, and No. 18 Alexander Zverev got past Facundo Bagnis 7-6 (10), 6-3.
In women’s third-round action, 17-year-old American wild-card entry Kayla Day nearly pulled off a major upset but eventually lost to reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Day is ranked 175th, Muguruza is ranked No. 7.
Elsewhere, 11th-seeded Johanna Konta was edged by No. 21 Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1), two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat No. 26 Roberta Vinci 6-2, 2-6, 6-1, and No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky defeated No. 18 Kiki Bertens 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (8). [/restrict]