INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Fourth seed Andy Murray erased memories of early losses at Indian Wells by storming into the BNP Paribas Open third round with a ruthless 6-1 6-3 victory over Canadian Vasek Pospisil on Saturday.
On a sweltering afternoon at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 27-year-old Scot broke his opponent three times in the opening set and twice in the second to wrap up the win in 79 minutes.
Japanese trailblazer and fifth seed Kei Nishikori also advanced in straight sets, recovering from an erratic start to beat American wildcard Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-4.
Murray, who was ousted in the opening round at Indian Wells in 2011 and 2012, hit 14 winners and won five of his nine break point chances to dominate his match against Pospisil.
“I’ve struggled a bit in the last few years here so I decided to try and play a very solid match and adjust to the conditions,” Murray said courtside.
“It was very hot and that made the ball pretty lively. I knew it would be a tough match and I had to play well to win.”
Nishikori broke Harrison five times while losing his own serve on three occasions before sealing his win in just under an hour and a half.
Nishikori, who became the first Asian male to reach a grand slam singles final with a storming run at the U.S. Open last year, had beaten Harrison in their only other meeting, in Memphis earlier this year.
”It was a different situation (in Memphis), an indoor game,“ said the 25-year-old Japanese. ”I knew it would be tough today, I knew he was playing good.
“It was a bit up and down but I played well in the second set. I broke him many times and that was a key for the match.”
Nishikori, who lost to Marin Cilic in last year’s U.S. Open final before ending a landmark season with four ATP World Tour titles, will next play Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who beat Australia’s James Duckworth 6-2 7-6.
In other matches, 10th-seeded Croatian Cilic, back on the circuit after being troubled by a shoulder injury, was upset 6-4 6-4 by Argentine Juan Monaco while big-serving South African Kevin Anderson beat Federico Delbonis of Argentina 7-5 6-4.
Later in the day, Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic was due to launch his bid for a fourth title at Indian Wells by taking on Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
Editing by Gene Cherry