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Rafael Nadal avenges Fernando Verdasco revenge at Indian Wells

Spaniard exacts revenge of first round Australian Open defeat from compatriot by beating him 6-0, 7-6 in second round at Indian Wells

Indian Wells (United States): Rafael Nadal avenged a fresh loss to a fellow Spaniard and Serena Williams set up a showdown with the reigning Indian Wells champion at the ATP and WTA hardcourt tournament on Tuesday.

Rafael Nadal returns to Fernando Verdasco during their second round match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California on Tuesday. Pics/AFP
Rafael Nadal returns to Fernando Verdasco during their second round match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California on Tuesday. Pics/AFP

Nadal saved five set points to finish off a two-set victory over Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 7-6 (11-9) in the third round on the main stadium court.

Serena storms ahead
World No 1 Williams routed 70th ranked Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, one of the biggest events on the tennis calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.

Serena Williams reacts after her win over Kateryna Bondarenko
Serena Williams reacts after her win over Kateryna Bondarenko

Djoko through too
Men's top seed Novak Djokovic, who is aiming for his third straight and a record fifth overall Indian Wells crown, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 7-5 in the night match.

Nadal, the nine-time French Open champion who turns 30 in June, avenged his first-round loss to Verdasco at the Australian Open in January.

Nadal moved a step closer to a fourth trophy in the California desert, where he took the title in 2013, 2009 and 2007.

The swashbuckling Spaniard next faces German Alexander Zverev who defeated Gilles Simon in straight sets 6-2, 6-2. Nadal, who is seeded fourth, roared through the first set without dropping a game, but Verdasco came to life in the second, eventually forcing a tiebreak.

Nadal fought off five set points before Verdasco hit a backhand long to end the one hour, 41 minute contest.

"It was a tough match, but I resisted. I lost a few matches this year that I had a chance to win," said Nadal, who broke Verdasco five times.

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