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Rafael Nadal handles heat, Guido Pella at Indian Wells

By The Sports Xchange
Rafael Nadal handles heat, Guido Pella at Indian Wells
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a backhand in his straight sets victory over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia in Arthur Ashe Stadium in the 3rd round at the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City on September 2, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Rafael Nadal beat the heat to advance to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif.

The on-court temperature hit 120 degrees as the fifth-seeded Nadal posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella on Sunday.

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The Spaniard won the final five games to advance in a crisp one hour and 21 minutes.

"It was a solid match," Nadal said afterward. "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."

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Nadal said the heat didn't bother him much because it was the kind he thrives in -- a dry heat.

"I adapt myself better to the dry heat than to the humid heat," Nadal said. "I think it's easier for the players to resist those conditions than when it's very, very humid. But it's true that today was hot and there was a lot of sun out there.

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"It was difficult to control the ball. The ball was flying a lot."

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Nadal will next face 26th-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain, who beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 7-6 (5), 6-1.

Taylor Fritz, a 19-year-old Southern California native who got a wild-card entry into the event, stunned sixth-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Fritz, ranked 136th in the world, came through when it mattered, saving eight of the 13 break points he faced.

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia got past Great Britain's Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6 (5). Djokovic earned a third-round date with 31st-ranked Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, a 7-6 (5), 6-3 winner over countryman Federico Delbonis.

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Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan also prevailed in straight sets as he dispatched Britain's Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-4.

Nishikori, who needed just 85 minutes to dispose of Evans, next faces Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. The 25th-seeded Muller defeated Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic 7-6 (1), 6-1.

Ninth-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland overpowered Stephane Robert of France 6-2, 6-1 in 51 minutes. Federer never faced a break point and converted all five of his break opportunities. His next match will be against 24th-seeded American Steve Johnson, who edged South Africa's Kevin Johnson 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4).

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Also advancing were 12th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 14th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France and 15th-seeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia. Dimitrov posted a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, and Pouille rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany. Kyrgios toppled Argentina's Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4.

Donald Young upset 23rd-seeded Sam Querrey 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a battle of Americans. Jack Sock, an American who is seeded 17th, beat Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

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