Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were very unfortunate to find themselves in the same half of the Indian Wells draw leaving Andy Murray with an easy passage. However, the Briton failed to take advantage and was downed in his opening match last Saturday.
The important thing is I won and I won in straight sets. I had some good feelings for a lot of moments.
It therefore leaves the remaining members of the Big FourÈ fighting it out between themselves to reach the final with Federer and long-time rival Nadal possibly meeting in the fourth round, with the winner then advancing to face Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
It seems more than likely that one of them, all already multi title holders in Indian Wells, will be raising the trophy next Sunday – Djokovic has won it five times, including the past three in a row; Federer four times and Nadal three. Since 2004, the only other man to win the championship was Ivan Ljubicic, now one of FedererÈs coaches!
This year all three got off to good starts in their opening matches on Sunday.
Djokovic, seeded two, took out the last Briton in the field Kyle Edmund 6-4 7-6(5) but showed some signs of rustiness as the British No2 nearly took a set off the Serb. He led 5-3 in the second but was unable to close it out as Djokovic broke back in the ninth game and then taking the tie-break after one-hour and 51- minutes.
First match played, already a big test, the three-time defending champion Djokovic told the crowd later.
Nadal, seeded five, beat Guido Pella of Argentina 6-3 6-2, and ninth seed Federer overwhelmed Stephane Robert of France 6-2 6-1 in just 51-minutes.
"It was a solid match," Nadal said following his match. "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. In general terms, I think I played a solid match."
Djokovic next faces 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who beat the Serb in a thrilling match at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year. Nadal plays his compatriot Fernando Verdasco, and Federer meets the American Steve Johnson.
In other matches Sunday, fourth seed Kei Nishikori topped BritainÈs Dan Evans 6-3 6-4, Grigor Dimitrov eliminated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-0, 15 Nick Kyrgios beat Horacio Zeballos 6-3 6-4, and Alexander Zverev ousted Facundo Bagnis 7-6(10) 6-3.
In womenÈs third-round action, 17-year-old American wild-card entry Kayla Day, ranked 175, nearly pulled off a major upset but eventually lost to reigning French Open champion and seventh seed Garbine Muguruza 3-6 7-5 6-2.
Elsewhere, BritainÈs 11th-seeded Jo Konta was edged out by Caroline Garcia 3-6 6-3 7-6(1), while two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Roberta Vinci 6-2 2-6 6-1, and Timea Bacsinszky defeated Kiki Bertens 6-3 5-7 7-6(8).