Defending champion Rafael Nadal opened his BNP Paribas Open 2014 campaign by dropping a set against Radek Stepanek before staging a comeback to enter the third round where he will meet Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgopolov. The Czech veteran turned the first break point of today’s clash and escaped some scares later in the set to eventually hold a 5-2 lead. The World no. 1 then surrendered another serve and fell one nil behind after less than forty minutes of play. Facing an up-hill battle, the Spaniard converted the single break point of the set two in the fifth game and held on to his serve until leveling the terms and setting up a decider. Stepanek, currently ranked 50th, recovered from an early shock in the set three before wasting a triple break point at 3-2 and paid the price by getting broken in the eleventh game. The first match point was soon to come for Rafa who wrapped up the proceedings at the Stadium 1 to win 2-6, 6-4, 7-4 after two hours and twenty-four minutes on the court. He stayed in the contest for his fourth Indian Wells title.
“I’m happy to be through, because the start of the match, even if I felt at the beginning I didn’t play that bad, it was very quick 4-1 [for Stepanek], and I felt I was not playing that bad,” Nadal commented.
Similarly, fifth-seeded Andy Murray had to bounce back against a Czech opponent as Lukas Rosol claimed the opener in their second-round match. Murray gave away a couple of service games in the first set to allow the World no. 47 take the lead and got into more trouble in the beginning of the set two , yet he prevented Rosol to confirm the first-game break. The highest-ranked British player grew in confidence as the match progressed and took over full control in the decider where he established a double break cushion before taking his challenger out of the ATP World Tour 1000 tournament. Murray secured a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to set up a third-round meeting with Rosol’s countryman Jiri Vesely.
“I felt [that] I was in a decent rhythm in the middle of the second set,” said Murray. “Here, I have always kind of struggled at the beginning of the tournament. I got broken three times in a row the end of the first set, beginning of the second. I just kind of kept going and found a way to win, which is always the most important thing.”