Li, Federer win in Indian Wells, Nadal survives scare

Sun Mar 9, 2014 1:30am EST
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(Reuters) - Top seed Rafa Nadal survived a scare from Radek Stepanek before winning his BNP Paribas Open second round match in three tight sets at Indian Wells on Saturday.

The Spaniard, in his first match as defending champion, was stretched to the limit before prevailing 2-6 6-4 7-5 in night match that lasted two hours, 24 minutes in the California desert.

Nadal served eight double faults and was broken three times, but he also broke his Czech opponent three times, including twice in the final set.

The pivotal moment came in the sixth game of the third set, when Nadal fended off three break points to hold serve.

Earlier, Briton Andy Murray recorded his 300th hardcourt victory when he beat Stepanek's compatriot Lukas Rosol in three sets.

Fifth seed Murray recovered from a slow start to beat his Czech opponent 4-6 6-3 6-2 as the top seeds took to the courts for the first time after receiving first round byes.

"I got broken three times in a row the end of the first set, beginning of the second," Murray told reporters. "I just kind of kept going and found a way to win, which is always the most important thing."

Only five active players have won more tour-level hardcourt matches, headed by Roger Federer (575).

Seventh seed Federer dominated the first set but was taken to a tie-break in the second before prevailing 6-2 7-6(5) against French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu, while Swiss compatriot and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka clinched a 6-3 7-5 win over Croatia's Ivo Karlovic.   Continued...

Mar 8, 2014; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Rafael Nadal (ESP) reacts after winning his 2nd round match against Radek Stepanek (CZE) during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nadal won 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports