Djokovic made to sweat

American Fish makes triumphant return after heart ailment

Djokovic made to sweat

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and third seed Andy Murray both had to work much harder than expected to book their places in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.

Top seed Djokovic lost his bearings in the second set before beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 while Murray had to dig himself out of an early hole on the way to a 5-7, 6-2 6-2 win against Russian Evgeny Donskoy.

Djokovic, who had stormed through the opening set in just 19 minutes, wrapped up his fourth win in four matches against Fognini when the 36th-ranked Italian netted a backhand. The Serb, a perfect 14-0 this year after winning the Australian Open in January and the Dubai Championships last week, will next meet Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, a 6-4, 6-4 winner against Australia’s Matthew Ebden.

US Open champion Murray, showing signs of rust in his first tournament on the ATP circuit for six weeks, lost a wildly fluctuating opening set, where he trailed 1-5 at one point, before seizing control of the match.

In blazing desert sunshine at Indian Wells, the 25-year-old Scotsman broke Donskoy’s serve twice in the second set and also in the third before sealing victory after two hours 17 minutes when his opponent sent a backhand service return long. The 22-year-old Donskoy was playing against a top-10 opponent for only the second time in his career. He lost to 10th-ranked fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the second round at St Petersburg in 2010.

In other matches, American Mardy Fish made a triumphant return to the ATP Tour after being sidelined since last year’s US Open because of a heart condition, battling past compatriot Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat American wildcard James Blake 7-6, 6-4, Nicolas Almagro swept past fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-1 and Germany’s Tommy Haas beat Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 7-6.

Sharapova sizzles

Former champion Maria Sharapova survived a tough battle with Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday, winning 7-5, 6-3 to book her place in the fourth round.
The Russian world number three, seeded second at the elite WTA event, broke the Spaniard twice in a closely contested first set that featured several lengthy baseline rallies and lasted almost an hour.

Sharapova then broke the Spaniard’s serve twice more in the second set, sealing victory in one hour 40 minutes when her 21st ranked opponent hit a forehand long.
Sharapova, who landed her fourth Grand Slam singles crown at last year’s French Open, knows she needs to raise her game a few notches if she is to win her first WTA title of the season at Indian Wells.

The statuesque Sharapova, champion here in 2006, will next face Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, who pulled off a minor upset by beating 14th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was also given a tough workout, overcoming Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, but fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova advanced smoothly with a 6-2, 7-6 win against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.
Sixth-seeded Italian Sara Errani had to work a little harder than the 6-3, 6-1 scoreline reflected as she beat Sweden’s Johanna Larsson to improve her win-loss record for the year to 20-7.

In other matches, Czech Klara Zakopalova overcame Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 7-5 and Russian Maria Kirilenko scraped past American qualifier Mallory Burdette 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

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