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Indian Wells Digest - Sunday

Rafael Nadal made a confident return at Indian Wells.
by Alexandra Willis
Monday 12 March 2012

Rafael Nadal looked as though a month away from the match court had done him a great service as he thundered through his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in their five-set Australian Open final epic.

Seeing off Leonardo Mayer for the loss of just four games, Nadal was sailing along firmly in the middle of his comfort zone.

"Very happy to be back in competition, that's the first thing," Nadal said. "This is a tournament I love, always in my career had good success here. Is nice to be back playing at the very good level. Winning is the most important thing. Not easy be back after a while without competition, but I did, I believe, really well. I started the match very focused, very aggressive. Today only thing I can say, I'm very happy."

But in arguably the upset of the tournament, or at least a close second behind Andy Murray's loss on Saturday, Petra Kvitova was bundled out in three sets by American youngster Christina McHale, the first home seed in the women's draw at Indian Wells since Lindsay Davenport in 2008.

The Wimbledon champion revealed she was still struggling from a virus she contracted at home in the Czech Republic two weeks ago, incidentally not the one which has been sweeping the Coachella Valley.

"In the beginning was fine. I played really good," Kvitova said. "After the first set I was sick and I had antibiotics so I lost a little bit of my fitness. So it was tough to moving and having winners. She played very solid and she didn't had many mistakes, so it was tough.

"Next time when I play against her I will have to play the game when I played the first set. So I mean, have a better serve, not did many double faults, and play aggressive and going for the net."


Talk of the town ... the increasing numbers struck down by a viral illness that has been sweeping the Coachella Vally. Vania King, Jurgen Melzer, Vera Zvonareva and Gael Monfils all withdrew today bringing the casualty numbers up to eight, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Yaroslava Shvedova have also had the illness.

"I'm really sorry to withdraw from the tournament but unfortunately I'm not feeling well enough to compete today. Hopefully I can recover from the illness and play in the next event [Miami] but today I just don't feel that I can go out there and perform well enough," Zvonareva said.

"Indian Wells is one the best tournaments on the WTA, I have great memories here and have won here in the past, so it's a special place for me and I'm sorry I cannot play. I hope to come back here healthy next year."

Michael Llodra also retired, with a knee injury, against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, having been handed a $25,000 fine by the ATP for verbally abusing some Chinese fans during his win on Friday.


Cruising through the day's play were Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Victoria Azarenka (extending her streak for the year to 19-0, the best start to a season since Serena Williams in 2003), David Ferrer, Janko Tipsarevic, Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Verdasco, Thomaz Bellucci, Nikolay Davydenko, Julia Goerges, and Li Na.

Match, and crowd, of the day belonged to the all-British doubles between the Murray brothers and Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, ending in a nail-biting 13-11 victory in the match tie-break for the brothers.


For all the reports and results from Indian Wells, visit the official BNP Paribas Open website


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