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Nadal Makes Hard Court Return

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is playing his first hard-court tournament in nearly a year.

Rafael Nadal returned to hard court for the first time in 346 days on Saturday as he defeated American Ryan Harrison 7-6(3), 6-2 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The Spaniard, whose last hard-court tournament was the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, let slip a 4-1 lead in the first set, but clinched it on a tie-break before breaking Harrison twice in the second set to claim victory in one hour and 34 minutes.

"I am satisfied to be in the next round. That's the most important thing," said Nadal. "Two weeks ago, I didn't really know if I would be here playing. I am happy to be here. I am happy to be in the third round. It was a good victory for me today against a good opponent.

"My physical performance needs to improve. My movement needs to improve. Matches like this help me. Any victory is important for me because that gives me the chance to play another day. That's what I need, to play matches. I need to compete."

The 26-year-old Nadal made his return from a seven-month injury lay-off by dominating the Latin American Golden Swing last month. The Mallorcan won titles in Sao Paulo (d. Nalbandian) and Acapulco (d. Ferrer) and finished runner-up in Vina del Mar (l. to Zeballos). He has now won 10 matches in a row.

Nadal is bidding to win his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. The left-hander was victorious at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in 2007 (d. Djokovic) and 2009 (d. Murray) and also was runner-up in 2011 (l. to Djokovic).

Watch Saturday Highlights | Watch Nadal Interview

Next up for Nadal is Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who upset 30th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 in 84 minutes.

Sixth seed Tomas Berdych defeated German qualifier Mischa Zverev 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 33 minutes to reach the third round. The Czech, who is coming off runner-up showings in Marseille (l. to Tsonga) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic), converted five of his seven break points and won 71 per cent of points on his first serve.

Berdych goes on to face another German, Florian Mayer. Mayer defeated David Goffin of Belgium 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

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