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Nadal Set To Open Indian Wells Title Defence

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Nadal© BNP Paribas OpenRafael Nadal is poised to open his title defence against Radek Stepanek.

Second-round action gets underway on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open, with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka in action. Meanwhile, Lleyton Hewitt goes for a milestone win.

World No. 1 Nadal begins his title defence on Day 3 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The three-time winner goes up against 35-year-old Radek Stepanek for the seventh time with the Spaniard leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-0. 

Stadium 1 also plays hosts to four-time champion Federer and World No. 6 Murray. The Swiss takes a 6-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record into his meeting with Paul-Henri Mathieu, while the Briton clashes with Lukas Rosol for the first time. 

World No. 11 Milos Raonic also returns to action today after recovering from the ankle injury which kept him sidelined since January. He faces Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Stadium 3.

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Former World No. 1 Hewitt will be bidding for his 600th career win when he takes on Kevin Anderson today. If the 33 year old can clinch victory, he will become the third active player to win 600 matches, joining Federer (937) and Nadal (674). Here’s a glance at his milestone wins:

No. 1 1998 Adelaide d. Scott Draper (1R)
No. 100 2000 Indianapolis d. Albert Costa (3R)
No. 200 2002 San Jose d. Andre Agassi (F)
No. 300 2004 Australian Open d. Karol Kucera (2R)
No. 400 2006 Sydney d. Vincent Spadea (1R)
No. 500 2009 Munich d. Philipp Petzschner (1R)

Australian Open champion Wawrinka will return to action for the first time since January when he takes on Ivo Karlovic today. The World No. 3 opened the year in Chennai where he clinched the title without dropping a set (d. Roger-Vasselin in F), before going on to post three Top 10 victories en route to winning his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open (d. Nadal in F). He rounded out his 11-0 start to 2014 with victory over Dusan Lajovic in Switzerland’s Davis Cup clash with Serbia. 

Great Britain's Murray will bid for his 300th hard-court win when he takes on Rosol today. The World No. 6 currently boasts a 299-85 record on hard courts, winning 22 of his 28 career titles on the surface. Here’s a look at the active win leaders on hard courts:

1 Roger Federer 575 4 Tommy Haas 341
2 Lleyton Hewitt 363 5 Rafael Nadal 324
3 Novak Djokovic 356 6 Andy Murray 299

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BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

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