Djokovic and Nadal tested in Indian Wells, Serena strolls
(Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic survived a stern test from qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo to make the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, with Spaniard Rafa Nadal also needing three sets to advance from a tricky opening clash.
American Fratangelo, the world number 149, showed no early fear against double defending champion Djokovic, racing out to a 4-0 lead as the rusty Serb struggled to halt the unforced errors.
However, Djokovic, who helped his country beat Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup last week, used his vast experience to overcame the early onslaught and secure a 2-6 6-1 6-2 victory at a breezy Indian Wells venue.
"The fifth game of the third (set) was the deciding one," the Djokovic told reporters.
"That break obviously meant that I can start to feel a bit more comfortable, play a little bit more aggressive on the court.
"It was swirly conditions. Trying to win with experience and with toughness in the clutch moments. That's what helped me to prevail."
Djokovic, 11-times a grand slam singles champion who is bidding for a record fifth title in Indian Wells, will next face Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, who dropped only one game in beating American Denis Kudla.
Fourth seed Nadal also had a fight to make the third round in the day's late match, saving 11 of 14 break points to edge out Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 6-2 2-6 6-4.
"I'm very happy for the victory after the last three matches that I lost have been in three sets or five sets. So I needed a victory like this,” said the three-times champion, who will now face his doubles partner Fernando Verdasco. Continued...