“I feel glad to still be in the tournament,” said Serena after her win over Diyas


Second seed Roger Federer opened his bid for a fifth Indian Wells title by easing to a 6-4, 6-2 second round victory over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.

The Swiss, who is making his 15th appearance in the California desert, advances to the third round, where he will face Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who beat Federer earlier this year in the third round of the Australian Open.

Federer overpowered Argentina’s Schwartzman by blasting eight aces, winning 83 percent of his first service points in the 63-minute match.

“It was important to get a good start. I had to stay focused and try to stay aggressive on the return which isn’t always easy,” Federer said.

“It was a bit breezy and I had to be careful at times but it is good to get the first win.”

The 17-time Grand Slam winner Federer is ranked second in the world and has a shot at reclaiming the top ranking with a good showing at Indian Wells.

Federer said he is looking forward to getting another shot so soon at Seppi who beat him in four sets in Melbourne in January.

“It was a tough match. It slipped away from me,” Federer said.

In the meantime, Rafael Nadal opened his Indian Wells campaign on a successful note Sunday, blitzing Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the WTA and ATP hardcourt tournament.

The 28-year-old Spaniard, who has won this event three times, advances to the next round where he will face American Donald Young.

The 14-time Grand Slam winner came into the California desert hardcourt tournament after winning the title in Buenos Aires.

Nadal, who is seeded third, broke Sijsling three times and only lost one point on his first serve (22 of 23) in the 62-minute center court match.

In men’s action Sunday, Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic beat Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4; Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria outlasted Australia’s Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) and Robin Haase defeated Swiss seventh seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Top seed Serena Williams stepped up her comeback from a 14-year Indian Wells boycott by storming into the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-0 demolition of error-prone Zarina Diyas on Sunday.

World number one Williams needed just 53 minutes to dismiss Diyas, blasting six aces and breaking the world number 32 six times in front of a crowd of 10,500 at the Tennis Garden stadium.

“This is going in the right direction,” Williams said. “I was able to be a little more consistent today. I feel glad to still be in the tournament.”

The 33-year-old American will face compatriot Sloane Stephens in the next round.

– Unforced errors –

Diyas had seven double faults and committed a rash of unforced errors, especially in the final game, when she had three in a row to bow out in calamitous fashion. 

Williams is playing in her first tournament since winning a sixth Australian Open crown and a 19th Grand Slam title. At 33 years 127 days, she became the second oldest Grand Slam winner of the Open Era after Martina Navratilova at the 1990 Wimbledon.

The American looked more relaxed against Diyas than she did in her first match on Friday when she survived a tough contest against the versatile Monica Niculescu for a 7-5, 7-5 victory.

Williams won the Indian Wells crown in 1999 at age 17 and again in 2001 when she rallied to beat Kim Clijsters in the final 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 after a controversial walkover when Venus Williams pulled out of the sisters’ semi-final at the last minute with an injury.

Serena said earlier in the week that she is trying to forget the events of 2001, when the then 19-year-old was booed during the Clijsters final. Some fans had accused her of rigging matches against her sister.

Last year’s Indian Wells runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska became the first big name to fall in the women’s field, as the seventh seed lost 6-4, 6-4 to Britain’s Heather Watson.

 – Agence France-Presse

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