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Page last updated at 07:06 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Rafael Nadal returns from injury with Indian Wells win

Rafael Nadal celebrates victory in California
Nadal made a winning return after two months out injured

Reigning champion Rafael Nadal eased into the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with a 6-4 6-4 win over Germany's Rainer Schuettler.

It was the Spaniard's first match since retiring from the quarter-final of the Australian Open with a knee injury.

Britain's Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins lost 7-5 7-6 (7-5) to American duo Andy Roddick and James Blake in the doubles.

In the women's singles, Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Russian top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 4-6 6-1.

Meanwhile, third-seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus defeated Austrian Sybille Bammer 6-1 7-5 while Kim Clijsters, playing in her first match since the embarrassing Australian Open 6-0 6-1 defeat by Nadia Petrova, crushed Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2 6-1.

But it was Nadal's performance that was the highlight of the day as he returned from two months out with a dominant display.

He adapted to the blustery conditions in California quickly and was always in control of the match.

"It was a good start in the conditions for me and I'm very happy," the number three seed said.

"When I was playing in favour of the wind, it was very difficult for me with the backhand because I feel if I only touch the ball, the ball was out. It went too much.

"I feel really well with the forehand, and that's very important to my game. Maybe I can play better in better conditions with the backhand."

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic lost seven straight games in his opening match

The 23-year-old will next play Mario Ancic after the Croatian beat France's Julien Benneteau 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.

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 victory.

The Serbian second seed, 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.

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

"I was very lucky to pull out it out in the end," he said after making 37 unforced errors and serving nine double faults.

"I'm still jet-lagged and it took some time for me to get used to the centre court."

Djokovic will play Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round.

Fifth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko comfortably beat Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-4, but eighth seed Marin Cilic of Croatia crashed out 7-6 6-0 to Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

British number one Murray faces Italian Andreas Seppi in the second round on Sunday.



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see also
Baltacha celebrates best-ever win
13 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Baltacha wins Indian Wells opener
11 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray to defend title at Queen's
04 May 10 |  Tennis
Baltacha qualifies for California
10 Mar 10 |  Tennis
Murray through after Nadal injury
26 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal out of Wimbledon
19 Jun 09 |  Tennis


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