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Nadal sails into Round 3 at Indian Wells

sports Updated: Mar 15, 2010 00:23 IST

Twice champion Rafael Nadal eased into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Germany's Rainer Schuettler on Saturday.

Second-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic survived a lapse in the second set before he held off American Mardy Fish to record a 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 Spaniard 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 afternoon.

The Spanish left-hander removed his red headband in celebration after a Schuettler backhand flew wide before approaching the net to shake hands with his opponent.

“Indian Wells is one of my favourite tournaments and I always feel like I'm at home here,” a smiling Nadal, 23, said in a courtside interview. “I have very happy memories here.”

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

“It was a good start in the conditions for me and I'm very happy,” said Nadal, competing this week for the first time since shaking off the knee injury that forced him to abandon his Australian Open title defence in January.

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

In other matches on Saturday, 10th-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco eased past Paraguay's Ramon Delgado 6-4, 6-1 while 11th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain hammered Austrian Daniel Koellerer 6-3, 6-0.