Mayer backs out of Nadal match
Rafael Nadal did not even have to hit a ball to make it through to the last 16 of the BNP Parbias Open in Indian Wells.
The Spaniard, seeded fifth as he makes his first appearance in a hard-court event this season, progressed courtesy of a walkover after Argentinian opponent Leonardo Mayer withdrew with a back injury.
Nadal was taping his fingers in preparation to take to the court when he was told that Mayer was not fit to play in the third-round match.
"That's bad news, for sure, for the fans and for Mayer, especially," he said. "I talked with him. It seemed like it's nothing very, very bad.
"Just a typical back problem, beginning when he was warming up his serve. The physio says maybe in four days, five days he will be ready. That's the most important thing, that nothing is serious."
The world No 5 - a winner of the tournament in 2007 and 2009 - defeated American Ryan Harrison 7-6 6-2 in his opening match. He only returned to action on the ATP Tour in February after a seven-month injury absence, lifting titles in Sao Paulo and Acapulco on his favoured clay surface.
Nadal's biggest issue on Monday turned out to be a 4.7 earthquake in California that originated from an epicentre just 30 miles from Indian Wells.
"I was very scared. First time in my life," he admitted.
Ernests Gulbis is next for Nadal after the Latvian qualifier beat 20th seed Andreas Seppi 5-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours eight minutes.
Gulbis had at one stage led 5-2 in the opening set but let his frustrations get the better of him when his Italian opponent began to rally, smashing one racket on the floor before being given a warning by the umpire.
However, he himself recovered from the disappointment of falling behind to take the next two sets. He gained the crucial break in the seventh game of the decider, then went on to serve out for the match in the 10th.
Meanwhile, South African Kevin Anderson beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-1 6-1 in exactly an hour on court while Tomas Berdych also cruised through, the sixth seed from the Czech Republic seeing off Florian Mayer 6-4 6-1.
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