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Nadal, Maria bow out

Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova were both knocked out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Monday after upsets at one of the world’s biggest tournaments outside the four Grand Slams.

Nadal was sent packing by Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, (7-5) after Sharapova fell to Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as last year’s men’s and women’s singles champions both crashed out.

Nadal blew a 4-2 lead in the deciding tiebreak after the Spaniard had fought his way back from 5-2 down in the deciding third set.

“I wanted to play very well here. I had good success in this tournament in the past, a tournament I always feel good about,” said Nadal, who will now turn his attention to the Sony Open in south Florida.

“I’m going to keep working hard to try to be ready to play better in Miami.”

Nadal beat Dolgopolov in the final of the inaugural Rio Open last month but the Ukrainian got his revenge on the world No. 1 in the Californian desert.

“I feel great, as after every win, of course. I beat the defending champion and the No. 1 in the world,” said Dolgopolov, whose next opponent is Fabio Fognini after the Italian saved two match points in a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 win over Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Giorgi, a 22-year-old ranked 79th in the world, made the fourth round of the US Open last year as a qualifier, but her win over the world No. 5 Russian was the biggest of her career.

“I did not play a good match at all,” said Sharapova, who dropped serve eight times and committed 58 unforced errors. Giorgi will play her countrywoman Flavia Pennetta in the next round after she beat Australian Sam Stosur 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Roger Federer also advanced after he was pushed all the way by Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov before winning 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-2).

Federer, who won his 78th career singles title in Dubai earlier this month, will play either German Tommy Haas or Japan's Kei Nishikori in the fourth round.

“I feel like I’m in a good place,” said Federer, a four-time champion at Indian Wells. “I know what my solid level is. Even if I won 6 and 6 today, I just feel like I was calm and served for the set.

“Okay, got broken. Still managed to stay calm. Down ... in the second; stayed calm and came back. So those are the moments where you feel there is confidence around somewhere.”

There were no other major surprises although Andy Murray was forced to dig deep to see off promising Czech Jiri Vesely and avoid a similar fate.

The Wimbledon champion won 6-7 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4 but only after clawing back from the brink of defeat against the 20-year-old Vesely.

Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka extended his unbeaten run this year to 13 matches with a ruthless 6-0 6-2 win over Italy's Andreas Seppi in just 49 minutes before joining forces with Federer in the doubles.

Meanwhile, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek downed Jonathan Erlich and Richard Gasquet in straight sets to reach the quarter finals.

The fourth seeded Indo-Czech pair quelled the challenge of the wild card opponents 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 16 minutes in the second round of the event. (Agencies)