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Karatsev & Rublev Make Strong Start In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev are playing doubles together for just the third time. But on Friday, the powerful Russians showed why they are a formidable duo.

The unseeded pair defeated Australian Alex de Minaur and American Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round of the BNP Paribas Open. Karatsev and Rublev, this year’s Doha champions, are now 5-1 as a duo, and they have not lost a set in any of their victories.

The Russians earned four service breaks and won 44 per cent of their return points against De Minaur and Opelka. They will next play fourth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or Italian Simone Bolelli and Argentine Maximo Gonzalez.

In other action, second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury clawed past Briton Cameron Norrie and Australian Luke Saville 4-6, 6-3, 10-8. This year’s US Open champions had never previously won a match together in Indian Wells.

Singles star Denis Shapovalov and his partner, Indian Rohan Bopanna, also advanced with a 6-1, 2-6, 10-4 victory against reigning Rolex Paris Masters champions Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz.


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Budge Patty, 1950 Roland Garros & Wimbledon Champion, Dies Aged 97

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Budge Patty, the debonair American who won the 1950 Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles in a 15-year amateur career, has passed away at a hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, aged 97.

Patty, a serve-volleyer on the court and playboy off it when he settled in Paris after the Second World War, became a fluent French speaker. In 1950, the year he decided to give up smoking, Patty claimed three straight fifth-set triumphs at Roland Garros, culminating in a 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 5-7, 7-5 final victory over Jaroslav Drobny and he received the warmth of the crowd. A year earlier he had finished as runner-up to fellow American Frank Parker.

One month after his victory on Parisian clay, Patty built a service and return strategy to overcome Frank Sedgman in the Wimbledon final. Having watched Sedgman in Paris and at Queen’s Club, Patty realised that the Australian didn’t like to rush the net and instead preferred to dictate the tempo of the match. Patty warmed up for the Wimbledon final on an outside court with Tony Trabert, barely hitting a ball into the court. But by the time he walked onto Centre Court, the 26-year-old settled quickly and won 6-1, 8-10, 6-2, 6-3.

International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said, “Budge Patty was one of the great American players of the 1940s and 50s. Winning over 70 tournament titles is remarkable, and to win Wimbledon and Roland Garros back-to-back is a massive feat. While he competed before my time, I’ve often heard about how beautiful and elegant his game was. He will be remembered as a standout among tennis history’s greatest champions”.

Photo: STF/AFP via Getty Images

Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Patty family soon moved to Los Angeles, California. He first played tennis aged nine with his older brother, who nicknamed him ‘Budge’ for his laziness and “failure to budge”, on the courts of the Los Angeles High School and at Queen Anne Park. As a junior, he practised every Saturday at 6am with five-time major singles champion Pauline Betz, who lived nearby.

After Patty won the novice championships of Los Angeles aged 13, Betz heard of a tennis pro called Bill Weissbuch, an assistant to Eleanor Tennant and coach of five-time major singles winner Alice Marble, who was looking to develop a young talent. Betz promoted 13-year-old Patty, who caught the attention of actors Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, and for the next two years won every tournament he entered. He took lessons with Weissbuch at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, which was owned and operated by Fred Perry and Ellsworth Vines.

Weissbuch pushed the need to play aggressive tennis, and it was a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Bill Tilden at the club that forced the then 5’4” Patty to ditch his baseline game. Recounting the match in his 1951 autobiography, Tennis My Way, Patty wrote, “Tilden told me at the end, ‘Sonny, you play a pretty good game of tennis, but you will never be any better than you are right now unless you learn to play a little more aggressive type of game. Learn to volley and attack as much as possible. That’s the only way you’ll ever become a champion’.”

Patty won the under-15 US national title in 1939, the under-18 singles and doubles titles in 1941— saving one match point against Vic Seixas in the singles final — and worked on his game the following year, when he retained the title, once he left high school. He’d planned to go to the University of Southern California in 1942, but a few days after enrolling he was called up to the US Army. After six months, he was permitted to leave the camp each day in Salt Lake City to train for three straight weeks in order to win the Utah state championships title. Afterwards, Patty spent two years in Italy with the 12th Air Force Public Relations department and was discharged in January 1946.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Within four years of first appearing at 1946 Wimbledon, where a number of the Centre Court seats were still roped off because of bomb damage, John Olliff, a former Davis Cup player and tennis correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, adjudged Patty to be the World No. 1 amateur in 1950. To date, Patty is only one of three American men — Don Budge in 1938 and Trabert in 1955 — to have achieved the Roland Garros and Wimbledon title double.

At Wimbledon in 1953, Patty failed to convert six match points on Drobny’s serve in a third-round match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes — a record at the time for the longest continuous tennis match. In doubles, Patty won the 1946 Roland Garros mixed title with Betz and partnered Gardnar Mulloy, who passed away aged 102 in November 2016, to the doubles title at Wimbledon in 1957. He also finished doubles runner-up with Mulloy at the US Championships two months later.

Often criticised for not playing enough on American soil, Patty later worked as a travel agent from his Paris residence (his home since 1948) and had bit parts in movies, before moving into real estate. He married the daughter of a Brazilian engineering magnate, Marcina Maria Sfezzo, his wife of 60 years and they lived in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977, made annual visits to the All England Club, Wimbledon, and continued to play three or four times a week until his late 80s, often using his old wooden frames.

Patty is survived by his wife and their two daughters, Christine and Elaine.

John ‘Budge’ Edward Patty, tennis player, born 11 February 1924, died 3 October 2021.

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Friday Preview: Murray, #NextGenATP Stars Brooksby, Musetti Play In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Following 48 hours of stress and worry for Andy Murray, it’s down to business for the former World No. 1 at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday, with #NextGenATP stars Lorenzo Musetti, Jenson Brooksby, Brandon Nakashima and Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune also in first-round action.

Reunited with his wedding ring, which he tied to his sweaty shoes and left under his car overnight to air Wednesday, Murray has wriggled out of the bad books with his wife Kim and now has his sights set on beating France’s Adrian Mannarino in the last match on Stadium 1.

In their two previous hard-court meetings, contested in 2015, the same year as Murray married his wife, Kim, and first tied his wedding ring in his shoelaces, the Briton recorded victories at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati prior to a five-set tussle at the US Open.

“He is a very tricky player, quite unorthodox and plays differently to most of the guys on Tour,” said wild card Murray, who reached the 2009 final (l. to Nadal) and has a 25-12 match record in Indian Wells. “The majority of players play with heavy topspin and have big, long swings to generate power and spin. He hits very flat off both sides and on the forehand he has probably the shortest swing on Tour. He plays a lot with his timing. His quick lefty serve is difficult as well. It won’t be an easy match.”

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Four #NextGenATP players, who are battling to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, the 21-and-under event in Milan from 9-13 November, also feature on day two in Indian Wells. Brooksby (877 points), Musetti (876), Nakashima (661) and Rune (615) are separated by just 262 points in the ATP Race To Milan.

American Brooksby, 20, the next in line to clinch his spot, plays in his first tournament since reaching the US Open fourth round (l. to Djokovic in four sets), and challenges Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel third on Stadium 1. After two ATP Tour semi-finals in Acapulco and Lyon, Italian Musetti is hoping to rediscover his best form against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas, aiming to improve upon two wins in his past nine matches.

American Nakashima, who reached his first ATP Tour final in Los Cabos (l. to Norrie) in July and soon cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time, plays Bastad finalist Federico Coria of Argentina not before 6pm on Stadium 3. While Danish wild card Rune, a winner of three ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2021, faces American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo second on Stadium 4.

Elsewhere, three-time Indian Wells quarter-finalist Kevin Anderson looks to extend his perfect 2-0 ATP Head2Head record against Jordan Thompson of Australia second on Stadium 2. American wild card Jack Sock, the 2017 semi-finalist (l. to Federer), plays another Australian, John Millman, not before 6pm on Stadium 2.

A number of ATP Tour stars feature in doubles action, notably Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner taking on fifth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau, and Russians Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev challenging Alex de Minaur and Reilly Opelka. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz also play Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov.


STADIUM 1 starts at 11:00 AM
WTA – P. Martic (CRO) vs [2] I. Swiatek (POL)
WTA – M. Kostyuk (UKR) vs [11] S. Halep (ROU)
ATP – [Q] C. Ilkel (TUR) vs J. Brooksby (USA)
WTA – Not Before 6:00 PM – [WC] [17] E. Raducanu (GBR) vs A. Sasnovich (BLR)
ATP – [WC] A. Murray (GBR) vs A. Mannarino (FRA)

STADIUM 2 starts at 11:00 AM
ATP – D. Kudla (USA) vs [Q] A. Tabilo (CHI)
ATP – K. Anderson (RSA) vs J. Thompson (AUS)
WTA – Not Before 3:00 PM – M. Keys (USA) vs [9] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
ATP – Not Before 6:00 PM – [WC] J. Sock (USA) vs J. Millman (AUS)
WTA – Not Before 8:00 PM – [23] L. Fernandez (CAN) vs A. Cornet (FRA)

STADIUM 3 starts at 11:00 AM
ATP – F. Delbonis (ARG) vs Y. Nishioka (JPN)
WTA – M. Linette (POL) vs [27] V. Azarenka (BLR)
WTA – [8] B. Bencic (SUI) vs S. Rogers (USA)
ATP – Not Before 6:00 PM – F. Coria (ARG) vs B. Nakashima (USA)
ATP – M. Fucsovics (HUN) vs G. Mager (ITA)

STADIUM 4 starts at 11:00 AM
WTA – T. Martincova (CZE) vs [4] E. Svitolina (UKR)
ATP – [WC] H. V. N. Rune (DEN) vs [Q] E. Escobedo (USA)
ATP – A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) vs L. Musetti (ITA)
WTA – Not Before 6:00 PM – [7] P. Kvitova (CZE) vs A. Rus (NED)
WTA – S. Stephens (USA) vs [19] J. Pegula (USA)

STADIUM 5 starts at 11:00 AM
ATP – R. Bopanna (IND) / D. Shapovalov (CAN) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / H. Hurkacz (POL)
ATP – [5] K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU) vs M. Berrettini (ITA) / J. Sinner (ITA)
ATP – L. Harris (RSA) / D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs [WC] S. Johnson (USA) / S. Querrey (USA)
ATP – Not Before 6:00 PM – [Q] A. Vukic (AUS) vs P. Andujar (ESP)
ATP – E. Gerasimov (BLR) vs [Q] C. Eubanks (USA)

STADIUM 6 starts at 11:00 AM
WTA – [25] V. Kudermetova (RUS) vs L. Samsonova (RUS)
WTA – S. Hsieh (TPE) vs [24] J. Ostapenko (LAT)
WTA – I. Begu (ROU) vs [31] J. Teichmann (SUI)
WTA – Not Before 6:00 PM – [13] E. Rybakina (KAZ) vs Y. Putintseva (KAZ)
WTA – [4] A. Guarachi (CHI) / D. Krawczyk (USA) vs [SR] H. Watson (GBR) / S. Zheng (CHN)

STADIUM 7 starts at 11:00 AM
ATP] A. Karatsev (RUS) / A. Rublev (RUS) vs A. De Minaur (AUS) / R. Opelka (USA)
ATP] C. Norrie (GBR) / L. Saville (AUS) vs [2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR)
ATP] F. Bagnis (ARG) vs [Q] E. Gomez (ECU)
ATP] NB 6:00 PM P. Martinez (ESP) vs [Q] R. Marcora (ITA)

STADIUM 8 starts at 11:00 AM
WTA – [32] S. Cirstea (ROU) vs M. Doi (JPN)
WTA – [14] E. Mertens (BEL) vs [LL] J. Paolini (ITA)
WTA – M. Ninomiya (JPN) / S. Santamaria (USA) vs K. Flipkens (BEL) / S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP)
WTA – Not Before 6:00 PM – [WC] A. Anisimova (USA) / D. Yastremska (UKR) vs [2] S. Hsieh (TPE) / E. Mertens (BEL)
WTA – [1] B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) vs V. Golubic (SUI) / J. Teichmann (SUI)

STADIUM 9 starts at 11:00 AM
ATP – D. Koepfer (GER) vs E. Ruusuvuori (FIN)
ATP – J. Struff (GER) vs D. E. Galan (COL)
ATP – R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) vs S. Gille (BEL) / J. Vliegen (BEL)

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2021 US Open Champions Donate Artifact To The International Tennis Hall Of Fame

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

The historic 2021 US Open that saw two new first-time Grand Slam champions etch their names into tennis’ history books will be an inspiring story of tennis history forever preserved at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Champions Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu each gifted items from their major victories to the permanent collection in the Hall of Fame’s Museum.

Moments after Medvedev’s win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the first-time grand slam champion handed a racquet from the championship match over to ITHF President Stan Smith. Raducanu gifted the Hall of Fame the Nike kit that she wore in her magical two weeks in New York.

The racquet and outfit are now displayed in the Museum for tennis fans to enjoy. As part of the permanent collection, the pieces will also be photographed for use in future digital exhibits and educational content produced by the Museum.

“The International Tennis Hall of Fame preserves tennis history so that future generations can learn from and be inspired by the sport’s most notable moments and remarkable people. Emma and Daniil certainly showed that they are those remarkable people during their spectacular US Open title runs. We are grateful to Emma and Daniil for recognizing the importance of the Hall of Fame’s mission to preserve tennis history for future generations and for providing this special piece of tennis history to the museum,” said Stan Smith, ITHF President.

With a straight sets win, Medvedev captured his first major title with an victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, denying Djokovic’s quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam. Medvedev became the first man since Rafael Nadal in 2010 and the second since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to drop just one set en route to the US Open title. In lifting the trophy, Medvedev became the third man in Russian tennis to win a major title, joining the ranks of Hall of Famers Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Raducanu, 18, became the first qualifier to win a major. She did so without dropping a set the entire tournament, winning 20 sets en route to the final.

She clinched the trophy with a straight sets win over fellow teen sensation, Canadian Leylah Fernandez. Raducanu became the first Britain to win a major title since Hall of Famer Virginia Wade in 1977. Her historic victory elicited enthusiastic support from around the world, topped off with a personal note from Queen Elizabeth.

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Felix Targeting Further Success In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Having advanced to his first major semi-final at the US Open last month, #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is determined to continue his rise up the FedEx ATP Rankings and compete for the biggest titles, starting this week at the BNP Paribas Open.

The 21-year-old is part of a young and competitive field in Indian Wells, with US Open champion Daniil Medvedev the top seed in California. However, with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all missing, seventh seed Auger-Aliassime will believe he can go deep at the penultimate ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.

On this and the change at the top of the game, Auger-Aliassime said: “It was going to come eventually. A change in generation. Novak is still No. 1, and Roger and Rafa we will see how they come back. But they have done it so many times in the past in their careers. They are going to be tough to beat for as long as they play.

“Having tournaments like this where the average age of the top eight seeded players is 23, you know that it is going to be highly competitive but as a young player, you try and establish yourself with those five to eight to 10 top players who will dominate or win the big titles in the year to come.

“For me, the challenge is big, but at the same time the motivation is big as well to try to play well to end the season and put myself with those best players in the world.”

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During Thursday’s pre-tournament media conference, Auger-Aliassime was asked about Canada’s breakthrough WTA star Leylah Fernandez, who reached the US Open final last month and her opponent Emma Raducanu, who lifted the title at Flushing Meadows.

On the impact the two teenagers have made for the sport and whether it has provided him with extra motivation, Auger-Aliassime said: “It is tough to compare. We are just different Tours. We have the women competing with each other and the men competing each other hard. What they have done with Leyla making the final and Emma winning is just as impressive as Daniil [Medvedev] winning.

“It was great to see new faces and young players and likeable players like them make it that far. I think it was a great story for the two of them and the sport in general. Any new fans we can get into the sport is great. I have been inspired to do better things for a long time now, but this always helps.”

Auger-Aliassime is making his third appearance in Indian Wells and will begin his campaign against either #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti or Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The World No. 11 is part of a strong contingent of Canadian players in both the men’s and women’s draw and is excited by the prospect of this.

“In more and more tournaments now, we have a great field of Canadian players in both the men’s and women’s draw, which is great to see,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Apart from Milos [Raonic] who is sidelined with injury, everyone is here. We sometimes have good results and bad results, but all of us are playing great tennis. Hopefully it is a good tournament for all of us here.”

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Medvedev's Motivation High Ahead Of Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Daniil Medvedev insists his motivation for success remains as high as ever ahead of his opening match at the BNP Paribas Open as he returns to court in a singles event for the first time since he captured his maiden major title at the US Open last month.

When asked if he is struggling for motivation, Medvedev said: “Not at all. I am still young. It was a big goal for me and a dream come true, but I am still here in Indian Wells. I haven’t left the United States since the US Open because I had the Laver Cup and now Indian Wells, so if I wanted to feel good physically, going back to Europe was not a good choice since I went far at the US Open.

“I have motivation, I came here prepared. We can’t know before the tournament what the result is going to be but even if I lose [in the] second round here, it is nothing to do with the motivation. It is because of the opponent or that I was not playing that well. I am going to play a few tournaments for the rest of the year and I am going to try my best and win them.”

The Russian, who helped guide Team Europe to victory over Team World at the Laver Cup in September, is the top seed in Indian Wells at the penultimate ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.

In preparation for Indian Wells, the 25-year-old took a different approach and decided to train at UCLA for the past week in preparation for the event to avoid a ‘burnout’ mentally.

“I was in Los Angeles for a week to try and bring my tennis up as that is what I am trying to do all the time with my coach,” Medvedev said. “It was my coach and agent who thought it was best to practise in UCLA and not to come too early, because if you come one and a half weeks before the tournament you can be burnt out. Before the tournament, you will be like ‘I cannot stay here anymore’.

“They decided that was the best place because they always have players there. There were like 10 different students practising with me. They all know how to play good tennis. You see it that people from college become Top 100, Top 300 and it is a very good level.”

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Medvedev will be targeting his first Indian Wells title and fifth Masters 1000 trophy overall over the next week, beginning against American Mackenzie McDonald.

Following his US Open triumph, the World No. 2 revealed he has had huge amounts of support off the court, including some acts of kindness at restaurants.

“There was a lot [of excitement] but more like the first week after winning,” Medvedev added. “That is when the first buzz is because everyone talks all about you. All the media and newspapers, especially in Russia. Some people I am a fan of text me, that was pretty fun. A lot of people tried to pay for me in the restaurants and I try to refuse it. Sometimes the waiter comes and says you can’t pay anymore because it has already been paid.”

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Tiafoe Tops Paire In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

The BNP Paribas Open has not always been Frances Tiafoe’s best event, but the American made a good start this year with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Frenchman Benoit Paire on Thursday evening in the first round.

Tiafoe was previously 1-4 at the ATP Masters 1000 event, but he looked comfortable and focussed on Stadium 1, where he triumphed in his first match since the US Open in 62 minutes.

“I definitely took a long time off after the Open, the longest time I’ve taken in the middle of the season in a while, so [I was] a little rusty in the beginning and in the days leading up I wasn’t feeling great,” Tiafoe said in his on-court interview. “Happy to just get a first round under my belt. Obviously tonight was up and down, Benoit wasn’t having the best of days, but you take that.”

The 23-year-old broke serve four times and won 46 per cent of his return points against Paire, who showed his frustration after failing to find much rhythm. After the match, Tiafoe immediately returned to the practice court for 2-on-1 drills with coach Wayne Ferreira, brother Franklin Tiafoe and hitting partner Jordi Arconada.

“You just focus on your side. This isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve been on Tour for a little bit now, so I know how to handle situations. But it’s never easy, because he’s so talented,” Tiafoe said of Paire. “[You] just focus on what you can do, holding serve, trying to minimise your mistakes and making it super tough for him.”

Tiafoe will next challenge 32nd seed Sebastian Korda, a #NextGenATP American. Their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting came at the 2018 New York Open, where Tiafoe emerged victorious in three sets. Korda was a 17-year-old wild card who had just won the Australian Open boys’ singles title.

Another young America, 24-year-old Tommy Paul, overcame record-breaking 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 7-6(3) to level their ATP Head2Head at 1-1.

Paul, who was on a three-match losing run heading into the match, utilised his dominant first serve and returning prowess to pull through in straight sets. The American won 81 per cent (26/32) of his first-serve points, and also managed to break the lefty’s serve on three occasions.

By taking the court today Lopez broke the ATP Masters 1000 appearance record, playing in his 139th event, passing Roger Federer. Lopez also holds the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam appearances with 78.

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Nishikori Rallies For Opening Win In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Oct 08, 2021

Kei Nishikori appeared in danger of suffering an opening loss on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open, but the former World No. 4 rallied past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round in Indian Wells.

“[It was] very tough,” Nishikori said in his on-court interview. “He took the first set and I was a break down in the second set, so I tried to be a little bit more aggressive. He was very steady.”

Nishikori was struggling for answers when he immediately fell behind a break in the second set. The Japanese star had never previously lost a completed set against Sousa. But instead of capitulating, Nishikori took the action to his opponent and won his opening main draw match at this ATP Masters 1000 event for the seventh time.

“[I am] very, very excited to play this week [in Indian Wells] and [I am] happy to pull through a tough one,” Nishikori said.

The 31-year-old is in a tricky part of the draw, and will next play 18th seed Daniel Evans, against whom he holds a 3-1 ATP Head2Head advantage. Nishikori beat Evans in a five-set marathon at Roland Garros last year that took nearly four hours.

In the same part of the draw, American qualifier Maxime Cressy clawed past Serbian Laslo Djere 6-7(3), 6-1, 7-5 in two hours and 23 minutes. Cressy, who attended college in California at UCLA, will try to upset 11th seed Diego Schwartzman in the second round. The winner will play Evans or Nishikori.

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