(March 12, 2017) Five-time BNP Paribas Open champion and No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, rebounded from a 2-5 deficit in the second set to hold off Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6(5) in the second round on Sunday. The 29-year-old Serb who holds 12 majors, broke Edmund as he was serving for the second set at 5-3. The 22-year-old Edmund had points for a two-break lead at 3-0 in the second but could not break.
“First match played, already a big test,” said Djokovic.
The win for Djokovic sets up a clash with 31st seed Juan Martin del Potro, a rematch of the first round the Rio Olympic Games, in which Del Potro upset Djokovic. The Argentine beat his countryman Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3 earlier in the day. The highlight of the match was a “tweener” lob winner hit by the 2013 Indian Wells finalist Del Potro.
“Last season I had played even better than what I expected, [after] my injuries,” said del Potro. I’m looking forward to keep going up in the rankings this year, trying to get closer to the top guys. If I stay healthy and I can play the same level as last year, I think I will be close to that goal.”
Djokovic is seeking his sixth title in the desert and his 31st overall master Series title to extend his leading record.
No. 5 seed and three-time winner Rafael Nadal had an easy 6-3, 6-2 win over Guido Pella of Argentina. The Spaniard will take on countryman Fernando Verdasco in the third round.
Nadal said that he tried to play solid. “I tried to find the rhythm, and I think I did. For moments I played well; for moments I played a little bit less well. The important thing is I won, and I won in straight sets. I had some good feelings for a lot of moments.”
“I haven’t played one very bad match during the whole season,” continued Nadal. “I played some great matches. In Melbourne, I played some great matches. In Acapulco, I played well. In Brisbane, I played well. Let’s see here. I’m very happy with the way I started the season. Now here is another opportunity. I know I have a very tough draw, and let’s see.”
Ninth seed Roger Federer had no problems with Stephane Robert dominating the Frenchman 6-2, 6-1 in 51 minutes. Federer was five for five on break point chances. The 35-year-old Swiss, who is a four-time champion, will face American Steve Johnson the round of 32.
Also advancing on the men’s side were No. 4 Kei Nishikori, No. 12 Grigor Dimitrov No. 14 Lucas Pouille, No. 15 Nick Kyrgios, No. 17 Jack Sock, No. 18 Alexander Zverev No. 24 Steve Johnson, No. 25 Gilles Muller, No. 26 Fernando Verdasco.
The biggest upset on the day on the men’s side was 19-year-old American wildcard Taylor Fritz stunned No. 6 seed Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Other seeded men who lost on Sunday were No. 23 Sam Querrey and Marcel Granollers (32).
In women’s action the biggest upset came when 21st seed Caroline Garcia of France defeated No. 11 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1).
No. 7 seed and current French Open champion Garbine Muguruza held off American teenage wildcard Kayla Day 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Day, last year’s U.S. Open Girls’ champion is currently ranked 175 in the world.
Muguruza said during her on-court interview after the match: “She’s very young and has a great future. She reminds me a little of me, when I was super motivated and playing very good.”
“Obviously I was pretty upset after my match, because it didn’t go the way I wanted it in the end,” Day said to media. “But if you look at the big picture, I was able to push a Top 10 player really far.”
Other winners on the day included No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elina Svitolina, and No. 15 Timea Bacsinszky.
More to follow….