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Tennis PIX: Federer, Nadal win openers; Serena retires

Last updated on: March 11, 2019 10:19 IST

Switzerland's Roger Federer plays a forehand against Germany's Peter Gojowczyk during their men's singles second round match on Day 7 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday

IMAGE: Switzerland's Roger Federer plays a forehand against Germany's Peter Gojowczyk during their men's singles second round match on Day 7 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday. Photograph: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Roger Federer began his campaign for a record sixth Indian Wells title by defeating German Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 7-5 in the BNP Paribas Open in California on Sunday.

Fresh from earning his 100th ATP singles title a week ago in Dubai, the Swiss fourth seed repelled a tough second set challenge from the World No. 85 to book his third-round place.

World No 2 Rafael Nadal brushed aside American Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-1 and will next face Diego Schwartzman after the Argentine beat Roberto Carballes 6-3, 6-1.

 

Earlier in the day, Japan's Kei Nishikori narrowly avoided a second round defeat to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino before battling through 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).

Federer said he was happy to get into his stride early in the tournament.

"For the first round I actually felt really good," he told reporters.

"If I maybe would have served a little bit better, I think things would have gone faster.

"But at the end it was a tough second set, and it's maybe exactly what I needed."

Federer, who won the last of his Indian Wells titles two years ago but lost in the 2018 final, used his backhand slice to keep Gojowczk from gaining any rhythm in the first set.

Yet the second proved more of a challenge as the German saved four break points in his first service game, then used his momentum to break for a 3-1 lead.

Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a backhand against USA'S Jared Donaldson during their men's singles second round match of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday 

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a backhand against USA'S Jared Donaldson during their men's singles second round match of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Federer immediately broke back before later benefiting from an untimely double fault for another break and serving out for victory in just over an hour and a quarter.

World No 7 Nishikori was not at his best, with the left-handed Mannarino's flat groundstrokes neutralising his attacks and the Frenchman seemed to be heading for victory when he served for the match at 6-5.

Yet he double faulted on the third break point he faced in the game and Nishikori raced into a 6-2 lead in the deciding tiebreak.

Still, Mannarino kept fighting, saving two match points before the Japanese finally wrapped up victory after two hours and 33 minutes.

"I was really focused on that last tiebreak," Nishikori said.

"I think we both played good, and I think in the tiebreak I played the best tennis."

Eighth seeded American John Isner swept past Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-0, 6-2, 10th seeded Croatian Marin Cilic beat Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4, while Russia's 14th seed Danill Medvedev beat American Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 6-0.

Serena Williams retires ill at Indian Wells

An ill Serena Williams retired from the BNP Paribas Open while trailing Spain's Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 1-0 at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Williams had taken a 3-0 lead in the first set before losing the next seven games. She walked to the chair after the first game of the second set and sat down, breathing heavily. After a discussion with supervisor Donna Kelso the American retired.

Tournament officials said the former world number one was suffering from a viral illness and Williams later confirmed she had been feeling ill ahead of the third-round tie.

"Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second; extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue," Williams said in a statement.

"By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically. I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami."

Williams, 37, had shown signs of fatigue during the first set and after it was completed she called for a trainer and following a lengthy conversation returned to the court.

Muguruza said it felt like a hollow victory.

"I felt that maybe she wasn't feeling well," she said.

"It's really a weird feeling, because I don't feel like I won the match point and (got the) 'well done, ... good match'.

"It was just like, 'man, we'll play next time.'"

Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, gave birth to a daughter in 2017 and returned to play last year.

She is currently ranked 10th in the world and was playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open in January.

She defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 in her first match at Indian Wells on Friday.

Halep claims tough win over qualifier Kozlova

Romania's Simona Halep reacts after winning the first set tie breaker against Kateryna Kozlova in her second round match in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday

IMAGE: Romania's Simona Halep reacts after winning the first set tie breaker against Kateryna Kozlova in her second round match in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports via Reutera

World number two Simona Halep survived a tough challenge from Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova to win their third round match 7-6(3), 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday.

The Romanian finally put away the 114th ranked Kozlova with eight consecutive points in the second set, a backhand winner proving the decider just as it had in the first set.

"It was difficult for me to close out those sets," Halep told reporters, praising Kozlova.

"When I was leading the match, she played without fear."

The victory advanced the French Open champion, who won Indian Wells in 2015, to the fourth round for the fifth time in six years.

The meeting was the first between the pair and featured big momentum swings.

After Kozlova claimed a 3-2 advantage in the first set, Halep won three consecutive games to go to set point at 5-3 on Kozlova's serve.

With the former world number one's groundstrokes failing her, Kozlova reeled off 11 of the next 12 points, breaking back for 5-5 with a forehand winner.

Halep finally won the set on her third opportunity with another trademark backhand down the line.

The Romanian took four successive games for a 5-2 lead in the second set, but Kozlova again rallied to even the match at 5-5 before Halep reeled off the eight straight points to seal the win.

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