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Top Seeds Nadal, Li To Play Today at BNP Paribas Open

Rafael Nadal seen at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.  Palm Desert Patch photo by Renee Schiavone.
Rafael Nadal seen at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Palm Desert Patch photo by Renee Schiavone.

Rafael Nadal and Li Na, the top-seeded men's and women's players, will make their debuts in the 2014 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden's Stadium 1 Saturday.

Nadal will face Radek Stepanek no earlier than 7 p.m. Nadal is 6-0 lifetime against the 35-year-old Stepanek, winning 13 of 15 sets.

Li will face her Chinese countrywoman Zheng Jie at 11 a.m. Zheng has won four of her six matches against Li, but Li has won the last two.

Fifth-seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain will face Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in Stadium 1 following the Li-Zheng match. The next match will pit seventh-seeded Roger Federer against French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Fourth-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova will face Julia Goerges of Germany no earlier than 4 p.m. in Stadium 1.

The night's final match in Stadium 1 will be between the lone seeded American woman, 17th-seeded Sloane Stephens, and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.

Today's matches conclude the second round for the women and start the second round for the men.

Each of today's losers will receive $16,000, with each of the winners guaranteed at least $28,000.

In both the men's and women's draws, all 32 seeded players received first-round byes.

Women's second-round play began Friday with the seeded players playing for the first time. Third-seeded Victoria Azarenka was the highest seeded player to lose, falling to American Lauren Davis, 6-0, 7-6 (1), despite leading 3-0 in the second set.

Azarenka was playing for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the Australian Open in January and the injury flared up again early in the match.

"I wanted to give my best shot," Azarenka said. "I think it's pretty good considering what I have been through. I just tried to fight."

The victory was Davis' first over a Top 10 opponent after four losses.

"It means so much to me," said Davis, who is 66th on the Women's Tennis Association rankings. "My first Top 10 win and just being in the third round of Indian Wells really boosts my confidence.

"(The crowd) was awesome, really, really supportive. I think that really helped me a lot."

Second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was the highest seeded player to play Friday, defeating qualifier Heather Watson of Great Britain, 6- 4, 6-3, on the Stadium 1 court.

"I'm just very happy I could play quite well today and win in two sets," said Radwanska, who won the final two games of the first set and first two of the second.

"Today was very windy and we were both struggling with the serve, so I'm happy I could make it through today.

This was the third time Radwanska has faced Watson and the third time Radwanska won in straight sets.

Three other Americans also played Friday, with Varvara Lepchenko the lone winner, defeating 29th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-2.

Shelby Rogers, who received a wild card berth into the main draw, lost to 31st-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-3, and Madison Keys lost to 13th-seeded Roberta Vinci, 6-3, 6-3.

Two other qualifiers defeated seeded players -- Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who eliminated 24th-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, 6-3, 6-2, and Australian Casey Dellacqua, who defeated 19th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Men's first-round singles play concluded Friday with 16 matches, including two on the Stadium 1 court where Australian Marinko Matosevic defeated American Bradley Klahn, 6-4, 6-4, and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, defeated former USC standout Steve Johnson, 6-3, 6-3.


—City News Service.

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