No match for gutsy Nadal

INDIAN WELLS, California - Twice champion and holder Rafa Nadal of Spain eased into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a commanding 6-4 6-4 victory over Germany's Rainer Schuettler yesterday.

INDIAN WELLS, California - Twice champion and holder Rafa Nadal of Spain eased into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a commanding 6-4 6-4 victory over Germany's Rainer Schuettler yesterday.

Second-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic survived a lapse in the second set before he held off American Mardy Fish to record a topsy-turvy 6-1 0-6 6-2 win.

Fifth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko also advanced, beating Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-4, but eighth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia made an early exit, losing 7-6 6-0 to Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

World number three Nadal, who relishes playing at the California desert venue, broke his opponent in the seventh game of the second set before clinching victory in one hour 34 minutes on a blustery late afternoon.

The Spanish left-hander removed his red headband in celebration after a Schuettler backhand flew wide.

The six-times grand slam champion had to contend with gusting winds on the stadium court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden but he was overall pleased with his form.

Djokovic, champion here in 2008 when he beat Fish in the final, appeared to be on track for a smooth passage when he breezed through the opening set 6-1.

But his game deteriorated in the second and Fish won seven games in succession to level the match before the Serb regained control of proceedings.

l Meanwhile, on Saturday, 10th-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco eased past Paraguay's Ramon Delgado 6-4 6-1 and 11th see, Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero hammered Austrian Daniel Koellerer 6-3 6-0. - Reuter

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