Nadal opens bid for 4th Indian Wells title with 2-set win
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal began their paths toward a possible quarterfinal meeting at the BNP Paribas Open with straight-set victories Sunday.
A day after No. 1 Andy Murray was upset by 129th-ranked qualifier Vasek Pospisil, the second-seeded Djokovic won his opening match at the hard court tournament 6-4, 7-6 (5) against Kyle Edmund of Britain, while the fifth-seeded Nadal beat Guido Pella of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.
''First match played, already a big test,'' three-time defending champion Djokovic told the crowd afterward.
Djokovic and Nadal both reached the third round after first-round byes. They are in a tough section of the draw that also includes 18-time Grand Slam champion and ninth-seeded Roger Federer, who was scheduled to face Stephane Robert of France on Sunday night. Nadal could meet longtime rival Federer in the fourth round.
Djokovic has won the trophy at Indian Wells a total of five times, Federer four, and Nadal three.
Djokovic, owner of 12 major titles, 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.
In other matches Sunday, No. 4 Kei Nishikori topped Dan Evans 6-3, 6-4, No. 12 Grigor Dimitrov eliminated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-0, 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).