Former champions Nadal, Djokovic advance at Indian Wells

March 18th, 2009 - 7:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael Nadal Indian Wells (California), March 18 (DPA) Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic maintained winning traditions at the Indian Wells Masters, both reaching the fourth round.
Top seed Nadal, the 2007 champion at the Tennis Garden, earned his second victory over Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-3. Holder Djokovic ousted German Tommy Haas 6-2, 7-6 (7- 1).

Nadal improved his 2009 record to 17-2 and next faces David Nalbandian, one of the few players whom he has never beaten. The 14th-seeded Argentine booked his spot in the fourth round over Serb Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2.

“I played a good match today. It was tough,” said number 1 Nadal. “But it will be even tougher against David as he’s beaten me in both of our matches.”

The pair met twice in 2007, with the South American winning back-to-back in Madrid and Paris.

Against Haas, Djokovic swept through the first set but struggled in the second. The Serbian third seed finally prevailed over the one-time number 2 from Germany - now ranked 64th.

“I played really well in the opening set, but I could have finished the job a bit earlier,” said Djokovic. “I was lucky, because it could have gone to a third set, and then who knows?”

Djokovic is bidding for his second title of the season, after winning a fortnight ago in Dubai before losing both of his Davis Cup rubbers against Spain.

“I’m playing a very solid game for now, saving lots of energy and being focused, not underestimating my opponents, and then really going step by step,” said the winner.

“There are, you know, certain things that I need to focus on more, but I’m on the right path.”

Sixth seed Juan Del Potro became the second Argentine into the last 16 as he beat Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2).

Women’s seeds were led by number 1 Dinara Safina, who broke in the penultimate game to defeat US player Jill Craybas 7-5, 6-4.

At almost the same moment on an outside court, Safina’s big brother Marat Safin lost to American John Isner 6-4, 6-4.

Number 4 Russian Vera Zvonareva beat China’s Li Na 6-4, 6-4.

Eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus ended the run of Israeli Shahar Peer 7-5, 6-4, while 18-year-old Danish talent Caroline Wozniacki, seeded ninth, beat the younger of the Polish Radwanska sisters, Ursula, 7-5, 6-3.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who upset second seed Jelena Jankovic in the second round last week, advanced into the quarter-finals as Spain’s Nuria Llagostera Vives wilted with a left hip injury trailing 6-3, 3-0.

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