Friday March 11th, Indian Wells, Report by James Handal

Reporting on Friday, March 11th at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

There was a great field of players competing Friday. Many of the world’s best singles players including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray played doubles during the day.

Swiss players Federer and Stanislaw Wawrinka, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists in Bejing, beat the #2 seeds, Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in a quick 49 minute match 6-1, 6-2. Defending doubles champions Nadal and Marc Lopez beat #4 seeds Mariusz Frysternberg and Marcin Matkowski from Poland. BNP Paribas Open owner Larry Ellison was spotted in the front row watching Federer and Nadal’s doubles matches.

Also on Friday,  Murray and his older brother Jamie Murray teamed up to play doubles. The Murray brothers were in top form as they faced Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares. Andy got a decisive break in the first set for the Murrays to take the first set 7-5. In the second set, Melo and Soares sharpened up their play to try to send the Murray brothers’ doubles team home. Melo and Soares won the second set 6-3. In the ten point tiebreak, it was very close, but the Murrays came up with some great shots to win the tiebreak 10-6. The Murrays looked great on the doubles court and are next scheduled to play the USA doubles team of Sam Querrey and John Isner, on Sunday, March 13. Meanwhile, Querrey and Isner beat Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, 6-2, 6-2.

Friday was a perfect day for tennis. The weather was sunny and in the 80s. The tournament featured many improvements this year including 2 more practice courts, hawk-eye on all 8 match courts, and an electronic board showing all of the fans the practice schedule to see when their favorite players are practicing so they can watch and then try to get an autograph.

Friday featured many special activities including the "9/11 Flag on Display." An evening pre-ceremonies event featured "Salute to Heroes," honoring military personnel and showing support of the veterans in Iraq. The Twentynine Palms Marine Corp Band played for all of the fans during this salute before the James Blake and Chris Guccione match. Blake was playing very well and went to take the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 against the hard hitting left handed Australian.

Up and coming Milos Raonic of Canada played singles on Friday and beat Marsel Ilhan from Turkey 6-2, 7-6(4). Raonic has reached a career high ranking of 37. Raonic won the San Jose title and was a finalist at Memphis. Raonic is also playing doubles with Feliciano Lopez of Spain and is scheduled to play Bob and Mike Bryan, the #1 doubles team in the world. In singles, Milos is scheduled to play American Mardy Fish Sunday, March 13. Many more activities are scheduled later this week as the tournament continues through Sunday, March 20. USTA Member Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 15th. Come on down and watch all of your favorite players and get an autograph!

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