INDIAN WELLS, Calif., March 14 (UPI) -- Defending champ Rafael Nadal overcame a tricky wind Saturday to post an opening-round win at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
Nadal, the world's third-ranked player, coped with a gusty breeze to register a 6-4, 6-4 win over German Rainer Schuettler as he bids to win his third title at the year's first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
Schuettler recovered one break of serve in the opening set, but from then on Nadal limited the former World No. 5 to nine points on return.
"I started the match playing well," Nadal said. "Later, when I played in favor of the wind, it was very difficult for me with the backhand because I felt it if I only touch the ball, the ball was out, went too much."
Nadal next will face Croatia's Mario Ancic, who fought back from the brink of defeat to down Frenchman Julien Benneteau 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 Saturday in a seesaw match.
Croatian Ivan Ljubicic advanced by downing 17-year-old American wild card Ryan Harrison 6-2, 7-6(2); Marin Cilic became the first big casualty as he fell to Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6(1), 6-0.