Djokovic, Murray, Sharapova reach 3rd round at Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS - The Associated Press
Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a forehand in his match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus during the BNP Parisbas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 14, 2015 in Indian Wells, California. AFP Photo.Defending champion Novak Djokovic dispatched Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-3 in 59 minutes to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on March 14 night, improving his record to 8-0 against the Cypriot.
Djokovic hasn’t lost a set to Baghdatis in their last three meetings dating to 2011. The Serb looked every inch the world’s top-ranked men’s player, connecting on 74 percent of his first serves and dictating from the baseline.
“I thought I had a very solid performance,” Djokovic said on court. “I managed to stay aggressive from the baseline and served very well.”
Djokovic is the defending champion at Indian Wells, where he is bidding to win his 50th career title. He’s currently tied with coach Boris Becker at 49.
“It does feel that this is one of the strongest tournaments that we have on the tour after the Grand Slams,” Djokovic said. “Maybe that is the case why it’s difficult to win it twice in a row.”
His only complaint is a minor problem with his left foot that he hopes “is going to fade away as the tournament goes.”
Sixth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard beat Lucie Hradecka 6-2, 6-2 in two minutes less than Djokovic took on the same court. She broke the Czech six times in winning against Hradecka for the first time in three tries.
“I feel like I had a good groove going on,” said Bouchard, who next plays 30th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Sesil Karatantcheva.
Andy Murray beat Vasek Pospisil 6-1, 6-3, with the hard-serving Canadian making it easier with 35 unforced errors.
Two-time champion Maria Sharapova needed six match points before putting away Yanina Wickmeyer 6-1, 7-5 in her bid to become the first woman to win the tournament three times.
Kei Nishikori beat American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4, while defending women’s champion Flavia Pennetta easily advanced on a 91-degree day in the desert.
Murray broke Pospisil three times in the first set, winning the final six games. They traded breaks to open the second. Murray broke Pospisil at love in the eighth game and then served his own love game to close out the match.
“I didn’t go for too much, but I also felt like when we were in the rallies I was dictating them, keeping him pinned in his backhand corner, and pushing him further and further away from the baseline,” Murray said.
Sharapova wasted four match points in the 10th game when Wickmeyer survived seven deuces on her serve to tie the set, 5-all. Sharapova served a love game and then won on Wickmeyer’s backhand error, one of 28 by the Belgian.
Sharapova takes on Victoria Azarenka in the third round in a matchup of former world No. 1 players.
Murray lost in the Australian Open final to Djokovic and has played just two other tournaments so far in addition to Davis Cup.
Nishikori dispatched Harrison in 1 1/2 hours despite struggling with his first serve. The fifth-ranked Japanese player reached the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in eight tries.
Harrison fell to 1-24 against top-10 players in his career.
Pennetta beat American Madison Brengle 6-4, 6-2 as the Italian opened defense of the biggest title of her career. She is looking to rebound from a poor start this year, having lost in the first round in Sydney and the Australian Open.
Other women’s winners were: No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki, fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, No. 11 Sara Errani, and No. 16 Madison Keys, who got an on-court visit from her coach and former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, applauded by fans who recognized her.
Keys beat Klara Koukalova 6-3, 6-2 in her first tournament since her run to the Australian Open semifinals in January.
“As great as Australia was, just trying to build from it and keep going and not just be really happy with what happened there,” she said.
On the men’s side, Juan Monaco upset No. 10 Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4, while No. 16 Kevin Anderson, No. 26 Phillip Kohlschreiber, and No. 28 Fernando Verdasco all won in straight sets. No. 23 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez lost to wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-4, 6-1, and No. 25 Julien Benneteau was beaten by Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-2, 6-3.
Cilic was playing his first match of the year after a right shoulder injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks.
The current U.S. Open champion is playing doubles here to work his way back into match condition.