Top ranked Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki triumphed on the center court stage, but it was a bruising day for a number of other top seeds in the California desert on Saturday. Nadal and Wozniacki both easily advanced, with Nadal defeating South African Rik de Voest 6-0, 6-2 and Wozniacki rolling over US wild-card Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 at the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 event.
However, the fifth and sixth men’s seeds, Andy Murray and David Ferrer, weren’t so fortunate, losing their opening matches on the fourth day of the event.
They were joined on the sidelines on Saturday by Ivan Ljubicic, who fell at the first hurdle in defending the title he won last year by beating Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal, who helped Spain win its first-round Davis Cup tie against Belgium last week, now has two career wins over de Voest, but it has been eight years between matches. Nadal won their only previous meeting in 2003 at a Challenger event in France when he was just 16.
Top-seed Nadal, who had a bye in the first round, advances to the third round where he will play either Ryan Sweeting or Juan Monaco.
Wozniacki also had little trouble in her opening match, dispatching Stephens with a steady serve and precision forehand to win in just 68 minutes. Wozniacki clinched the match with a running forehand volley into the open court.
US qualifier Donald Young shocked world No.5 Murray 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 on Saturday.
Scotsman Murray looked rusty in his opening match and in his first career meeting against the 21-year-old Young. Murray has now lost his last seven sets.
It marked the first victory over a top-10 opponent for Young, who has a 3-3 record this year.
Young was overjoyed with his victory and hopes it is a sign of good things to come.
Young had a successful junior career and turned pro at a young age, but then his career hit the skids and he says he got lost in the shuffle.
Spain’s Ferrer was also sent crashing, falling in the second-round to unseeded Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
The 32-year-old Croatian hammered nine aces against Ferrer, who had already won titles this year in Auckland, New Zealand, and Acapulco, Mexico.
Karlovic closed out the 96-minute match with an ace to post his first win over Ferrer in three career meetings.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro continued his impressive comeback from a wrist injury by rallying to beat Ljubicic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
A year ago, former world No. 3 Ljubicic beat Djokovic in the final, but Del Potro was too much for him to handle on Saturday.
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