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Nadal hits form in Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal
Nadal is on his way back after struggling with a knee injury

World number one Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic began their Indian Wells campaigns with straight-sets victories on Sunday.

Djokovic, who had a first-round bye as one the top seeds, cruised into round three with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Argentine Martin Vassallo Arguello.

And Nadal then thrashed Germany's Michael Berrer 6-2 6-1.

In the women's event, top seed Dinara Safina beat China's Peng Shuai 7-5 6-4, but Amelie Mauresmo was beaten.

The Frenchwoman went down 7-5 6-2 to Li Na of China.

Nadal lost just five points in seven service games and broke Berrer five times as he set up a third-round clash with Russia's Dmitry Tursunov.

Winning Dubai meant a lot for my confidence level and for my game overall

Novak Djokovic
"For me it was perfect," said the Spaniard. "I played a very comfortable match.

"I had the break in the first game of both sets. That's really important. I felt well on the court, playing good."

In windy conditions, Djokovic broke world number 54 Arguello twice in the first set and again in the seventh game of the second to clinch the win.

Djokovic, coming off a tournament win in Dubai last month, will now face German Tommy Haas in the Masters 1000 event.

"Winning Dubai meant a lot for my confidence level and for my game overall," said the Serb. "I've changed my racket.

"Probably that was the big reason for mental instability in certain stages at the start of the year. I was thinking about that more than my game. Luckily for me, it has changed."

Last year's runner-up Mardy Fish, seeded 20th, was beaten by France's Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1), while seventh seed Andy Roddick saw off Austrian qualifier Daniel Koellerer 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

American John Isner upset ninth seed Gael Monfils of France 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, 12th seed David Ferrer beat Todd Widom of the US 6-4 7-5, while David Nalbandian and Marat Safin also advanced.

Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro was made to work hard in his second-round match with Ryan Sweeting.

Del Potro, the number six seed, was taken to three sets before defeating his American opponent 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1.

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see also
Murray returns with doubles win
13 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Indian Wells photos
13 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Federer to become a father
12 Mar 09 |  Tennis

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