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Nadal in third round at Indian Wells

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POSTED March 11, 2012 8:13 p.m.

INDIAN WELLS (AP) — Rafael Nadal, playing singles for the first time in six weeks, advanced to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer on Sunday.

Nadal had not played since losing to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a nearly 6-hour marathon final at the Australian Open on Jan. 29. The Spaniard was in control throughout the match with Mayer, who fell to 0-8 in his career against top 10 opponents.

"It's nice to be back playing at the very good level, in my opinion," Nadal said after not facing a break point in the 75-minute match. "Winning is the most important thing. It's not easy to be back after a while without competition but I did, I believe, really well.

"I started the match very focused, very aggressive. Today the only thing I can say, I'm very happy about almost everything."

Nadal will play countryman Marcel Granollers in the third round and has a potential semifinal date with Roger Federer, who was scheduled to play Sunday night.

David Ferrer of Spain, who could face Federer in the quarterfinals, was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France got a quick victory over countryman Michael Llorda, who retired with a knee injury after falling behind 4-1 in the opening set.

In other action, Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro beat Australian qualifier Marino Matosevic 7-5, 6-2, and No. 10 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

On the women's side, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus got little resistance from Svetlana Kuznetsova, beating the Russian 6-1, 6-2.

Li Na of China beat countrywoman Jie Zheng 6-1, 6-3, Julia Goerges of Germany was a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain, and Angelique Kerber of Germany advanced on a walkover when American Vania King withdrew with an illness.

King was hit by a stomach virus that has spread through the Coachella Valley the past few days. Gael Monfils of France also withdrew Sunday and Andreas Seppi, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Magdalena Rybarikova had been sidelined on Saturday.


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