• ATP Tour

Nadal receives bye at Indian Wells

ESPN staff
March 11, 2013
Rafael Nadal will play Ernests Gulbis in round four © AP

Rafael Nadal received a walkover into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after his opponent Leonardo Mayer withdrew from the tie with a back injury.

The Spaniard made his comeback to competitive hard court action for the first time in almost a year on Saturday when beating Ryan Harrison 7-6(3) 6-2, and the two-time champion at Indian Wells made it through to the fourth round following Mayer's withdrawal.

He will now play Ernests Gulbis in the next round after the Latvian had to battle from a set down against Andreas Seppi, coming through 5-7 6-3 6-4 after two hours.

Nadal, the reigning French Open champion, had been missing from the circuit for seven months before making his return on the clay courts in Chile. The former world No. 1 reached the final there, and won events staged in Sao Paulo and Acapulco.

The Spaniard, like Roger Federer, was one of many to experience an earthquake 12 miles from the desert community of Anza near Indian Wells, recorded at a magnitude of 4.7 according to the California Institute of Technology's seismological laboratory, with Nadal reportedly on the massage table when he felt the table move during the quake.

While Nadal did not have to hit a ball for the win, Gulbis was having to do the opposite and fight for a victory over Seppi. Gulbis was not having a good time on court, smashing his racket, but the mad moment appeared to spur the qualifier on, and he responded superbly to overcome the tough Italian and set up a meeting with Nadal on Wednesday.

Tomas Berdych was in a hurry to seal his place in the fourth round as the big Czech raced to a 6-4 6-1 victory over Florian Mayer. Berdych has been in good form over the past few weeks, reaching the finals of Dubai and Marseille, and the sixth seed proved to be too much for Mayer as he clinched the opening set by breaking for a second time in the tenth game, before powering into a 5-0 lead in the second and closing out the victory.

Kevin Anderson also made it through to the fourth round, with the South African beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-1.

Elsewhere, Lleyton Hewitt was beaten 6-4 7-5 by Stanislas Wawrinka, who now faces Federer, while there was also wins for Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon.

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