Rafael Nadal is playing his first hard-court event in nearly one year. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rafael Nadal is into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open after receiving a walkover from Leonardo Mayer on Monday. Mayer withdrew from the third-round match with a back injury. Nadal was taping his fingers before the match when he heard the news.
"I talked with him," Nadal said. "It seemed like it's nothing very, very bad. Just typical, you know, back problem just beginning when he was warming up his serve." The walkover capped off an unpredictable morning for Nadal, who also experienced his first earthquake when a 4.7 magnitude tremblor hit the Coachella Valley. Nadal was on a massage table at the time.
"I was very scared," Nadal said. "I finish the earthquake, and I was my legs were like this," trembling his legs.
A well-rested Nadal, who beat Ryan Harrison on Saturday in his first hard-court match in almost a year, will play a white-hot Ernests Gulbis next. The talented qualifier is riding a 13-match winning streak after beating 20th seed Andreas Seppi 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday. Nadal owns a 4-0 record over Gulbis, but the Latvian has played him tough, taking a set in three of their four matches.