Nadal, Del Potro, Murray Lead Way as March Madness Begins at Indian Wells
Watch a first Saturday at the Indian Wells Tennis Masters today. Featured are former champion Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling who are all heavy favorites.
Nadal, who has never lost a match at Indian Wells on odds years – he won the title in 2007 and 2009, is on against South African qualifier Rik de Voest. Rafa says he’s back healthy again after a tough start to the season.
“Last year I won a lot of things and I was healthy for almost all the time,” Nadal said. “This year I started the season with a little bit of unlucky because I get sick in Doha, and I was playing really well. And after that, I think I didn’t felt the ball perfect in Australia the week before and the first week of the tournament. I think the virus stays there already, so…But anyway, I passed the first round, the first week, and I was in the second week. Second week I was in a good position, because against Cilic I started to play much better physically and I was playing good tennis. So I had very good match against Cilic there. Very disappointing against David Ferrer second game I felt the leg. That’s what happened. I tried to recover very fast and practice in Mallorca, so that’s what I did. I played Davis Cup last week, and I’m here to try my best.”
Del Potro plays defending champion Ivan Ljubicic. The Croat has a history of playing well in the desert since his title last year has really done very little. Del Potro crushed Radek Stepanek in his first round and I expect him to get through Ivan.
Murray will play his first match against American lefty Donald Young. Soderling is on tonight against Michael Berrer. The Swede is 18-1 on the year.
So other good matches today include Fernando Verdasco v. Richard Berankis, Sam Querrey v. Janko Tipsarevic, Ivo Karlovic v. David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro v. Michael Russell. I give Berankis a real shot at the upset.
The women’s WTA schedule is headlined by Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Stosur, Maria Sharapova and Sveta Kuznetsova.
So quick results from yesterday. James Blake got a nice three set win over big qualifier Chris Guccione. Blake now plays his buddy Andy Roddick tomorrow. Nikolay Davydenko and young phenoms Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic and Ryan Harrison also earned victories.
“My goals are to keep playing better and better and improving, and I have been doing that well in the practices,” Raonic said after his first career Masters win. “I have mentioned how I’ve been improving from the baseline, playing a lot better, even compared to when I have been playing to date my best tennis since San Jose and Memphis. I’ve been doing a lot of things making sure I am improving and sort of try to keep getting better and better.
“As far as everything else is coming together, with the pressure, I know I’ll always be the one to put more pressure on myself than anybody else,” said Raonic. “So I have been doing that well, and I have been expecting a lot from myself. I have been doing a lot of good things, and I hope to keep doing a lot more.”
Raonic now plays Mardy Fish on Monday.
And on Friday the four of the Top 5 singles players – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray – all won their first round doubles matches yesterday.
Tennis Channel is on today live starting a 2pm ET with wall-to-wall men’s coverage. You can also find live streaming options at the ATP site:
SATURDAY INDIAN WELLS SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
D Safina (RUS) vs  D Hantuchova (SVK) – WTA
J Del Potro (ARG) vs  I Ljubicic (CRO) – ATP
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [WC] S Stephens (USA) – WTA
 R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] R de Voest (RSA) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs  M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 8:30 PM
 R Soderling (SWE) vs M Berrer (GER) – ATP
STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
 F Verdasco (ESP) vs [WC] R Berankis (LTU) – ATP
 S Stosur (AUS) vs [Q] L Pous-Tio (ESP) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
[Q] D Young (USA) vs  A Murray (GBR) – ATP
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs  S Querrey (USA) – ATP
X Malisse (BEL) vs  J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP
 S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [WC] C Mchale (USA) – WTA
STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
 M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [Q] S Devvarman (IND) – ATP
I Karlovic (CRO) vs  D Ferrer (ESP) – ATP
E Makarova (RUS) vs  V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA
S Peng (CHN) vs  N Li (CHN) – WTA
[Q] R Sweeting (USA) vs  J Monaco (ARG) – ATP
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