ameron Norrie continued his sensational year by reaching his sixth and most significant final for the season with a straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov in the Indian Wells Masters semi-finals on Saturday.

The British 21st seed claimed his 46th win for the season, earning his sixth final appearance for the season, which is the equal most of any male player on tour, alongside Novak Djokovic.

Norrie will play Georgian 29th seed Nicoloz Basilashvili who defeated local Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach a Masters 1000 final for the first time.

 

NORRIE TOPPLES TIRING DIMITROV

Norrie will also be making his maiden Masters 1000 final appearance after a 6-2 6-4 victory over 23rd seed Dimitrov in one hour and 26 minutes.

The 26-year-old Briton got ahead in both sets with an early break to set up the victory. Norrie moves ahead of Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas and level with Djokovic for most final appearances this season.

"I've been playing a lot of big matches this year, which has helped," Norrie said during his on-court interview. "I feel like I am used to the big moments and the big matches.

"I'm feeling more and more comfortable and I feel like I am playing on my terms in key moments."

Dimitrov, who beat top seed Daniil Medvedev in an epic fourth round comeback, appeared spent physically with 31 unforced errors compared to Norrie's 19, with the Briton only hitting 12 winners for the match.

The triumph boosts Norrie's hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals, with victory in the decider to see him move past Jannik Sinner into 10th position and within 125 points of the last position, currently occupied by Hubert Hurkacz.

 

BASILASHVILI MAKES MAIDEN MASTERS 1000 FINAL

Basilashvili overcame late nerves to secure his first-ever Masters 1000 final berth with victory over 31st seed Fritz in 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in one hour and 41 minutes.

The 29-year-old, who had never won a main draw match at Indian Wells prior to this year's event, had 26-21 winners for the match, stepping up in the key moments to claim his breakthrough spot in a decider.

"It means a lot, especially at Indian Wells," Basilashvili said during his on-court interview. "People call this the fifth grand slam so it means a lot."

The Georgian was uncompromising and committed throughout, staving off three Fritz set points in the first set, before getting the lead in a tiebreak. Basilashvili converted his first break point for the match to lead 4-2 in the second set, although he spurned three match points with missed forehands, before sealing victory.

"For me, I'm first time experiencing semi-finals, finals and quarter-finals so I'm really tight," Basilashvili said. "It's natural but I try to get rid of it as much as I can. If I focus on my game and play, I can play good tennis."

Alexander Zverev rued a missed opportunity to win the Indian Wells Masters as he crashed out in the quarter-finals at the hands of home favourite Taylor Fritz.

American Fritz saved two match points to pull off an upset 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Olympic gold medallist Zverev.

Third seed Zverev was aware he had become hot favourite to triumph in California after Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out to Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Friday, with US Open champion Daniil Medvedev already eliminated.

And the German was frustrated with his performance against Fritz, which left him unable to add to the Masters 1000 titles he has already won in Madrid and Cincinnati this year.

"It was just not really my day, to be honest," said Zverev, who had beaten Jenson Brooksby, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils to reach the last eight.

"I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not there for me.

"Mentally this is not easy for me. My next tournament is Vienna, so hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home.

"It was a very long season and I have played well but this one hurts because I knew that, after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn't there yet."

Zverev had won 20 of his previous 21 matches on hard courts and led 5-2 in the deciding set.

But Fritz was not to be denied, firing 36 winners to secure the second top-five win of his career, with this triumph adding to impressive victories over Italian duo Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner this week.

Fritz said: "This is the farthest I've ever been in a big tournament. 

"It is easily the best win of my life, against a really tough opponent on arguably the biggest match I could possibly play, so it's great.

"The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game.

"Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure. I kept fighting. The crowd pushing me on meant so much.

"It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true."

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both crashed out in the quarter-finals on a day of upsets at the Indian Wells Masters.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – suffered a shock defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili in a memorable outing for the Georgian in the Californian desert on Friday.

Afterwards, third seed Zverev was upstaged by Taylor Fritz in another boilover at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

 

BASILASHVILI BANISHES STEFANOS FOR MAIDEN MASTERS SF

In the biggest win of his career, 29th seed Basilashvili conquered French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Basilashvili's powerful groundstrokes from the baseline troubled Tsitsipas throughout as he reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

Prior to this year, Basilashvili had never won a main-draw match at Indian Wells in four previous appearances.

"I have played really great matches this tournament," said Basilashvili, who is the first Georgian in a Masters 1000 semi-final since Irakli Labadze in 2004. "I was not that happy with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels.

"First time in the quarter-finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is a super tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed."

 

FRITZ SAVES MATCH POINTS TO UPSET ZVEREV

Next up for Basilashvili is 31st seed Fritz, who fended off two match points to surprise Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Fritz dropped the opening set and rallied from 5-2 down in the decider as he earned his second top-five victory of his career en route to his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

"I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match.

"Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on."

It is the second Masters 1000 tournament of the season to feature three players in their first semi-final – Basilashvili, Fritz and Cameron Norrie – after the Miami Open.

Grigor Dimitrov continued his red-hot form with a hard-fought victory over Hubert Hurkacz at the Indian Wells Masters, where Cameron Norrie awaits in the semi-finals.

After conquering top seed Daniil Medvedev, former world number three Dimitrov recovered from a set down to upstage eighth seed Hurkacz on Thursday.

Norrie shocked 11th seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets at the ATP 1000 tournament.

 

DIMITROV CELEBRATES MILESTONE

Bulgarian star and 23rd seed Dimitrov reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the season with a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Dimitrov showed he is the comeback king once again, having also saved two break points at 3-3 in the second set.

A semi-finalist at the US Open (2019), Australian Open (2017) and Wimbledon (2014), Dimitrov then squandered a 5-2 lead in the deciding set before eventually prevailing in a tie-break for his 100th Masters 1000 victory.

 

NORRIE BOOSTS TURIN BID

Norrie's hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals in Turin received a boost after breezing past Schwartzman 6-0 6-2.

Amid a career-best season, Norrie advanced to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, with the 26-year-old to replace Daniel Evans as the new British men's number one.

Seeded 21st, Norrie – who has 45 Tour-level wins in 2021 – now has next month's Finals firmly in sight, having started the day 945 points behind ninth-placed Hurkacz in the race to Turin.

"I have been pretty consistent this year," Norrie said after 74 minutes on court. "I think I am really doing the fundamentals well on serve and return and playing the big points better.

"I have been a little more aggressive and feel I am learning more as I go along and becoming more experienced. We are really happy."

Twenty-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal has refused to put a timeline on his comeback to competitive tennis and will only return when he is in "good condition".

Nadal has not played since early August when he lost to Lloyd Harris in the third round at the Citi Open, before withdrawing from the US Open due to a recurring foot injury.

The 35-year-old Spaniard had in June pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics shortly after losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, saying he was "listening to my body".

Nadal, who will not return this season, has been seen training in Mallorca after last month receiving treatment in Barcelona, offering hope of a return.

"I want to recover from this injury in good condition," Nadal told a news conference.

"I don't know when I will play again, I work a lot every day, I follow a specific plan with a marked roadmap and with very clear objectives."

The next major on the calendar is the 2022 Australian Open to be played in Melbourne in January although Nadal would not commit to participating.

"I will not say what those objectives are, because there are always things that I can't control 100 per cent, but inside my head I'm clear on what my objectives are and I trust that things will follow a positive course," he said.

"Not everything depends on me, but I am confident that my daily efforts will pay off and allow me to return soon."

Daniil Medvedev was ousted from the Indian Wells Masters, the US Open champion and top seed stunned by former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling comeback.

Dimitrov had been a set and a double break down against the Russian star on Wednesday, before launching a remarkable rally for his first win over a top-two opponent since 2016.

Meanwhile, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Alexander Zverev both won to secure their spots in the last eight.

 

MEDVEDEV SHOCKED IN THE DESERT

Dimitrov roared back to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 over Medvedev, who had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil.

Bulgarian star Dimitrov trailed 4-1 in the second set after dropping the opener before stunning the first-time grand slam champion midweek.

"I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me," Dimitrov – the 23rd seed – said. "In the end it was just very solid and smart play."

Dimitrov finished the match with 25 winners, while he was also excellent at the net, helping him claim his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this season.

Medvedev sent down 5-1 aces but only managed a 54 per cent first-serve percentage, while he also faced 10 break points across the match. Dimitrov won five games in a row to claim the second set.

"I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said.

"That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose serve four times is just unacceptable."

Dimitrov will face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after he got past Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Medvedev added: "Grigor played [the] second part of the match better than anybody did against me [at the] US Open that I won. Playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

 

ZVEREV MAKES STATEMENT WITH MONFILS WIN

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev bulldozed his way past 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-1-6-3 en route to the last eight.

German star Zverev claimed his 20th win from his last 21 matches, needing just over an hour to dispatch Monfils.

Zverev claimed 19 of 25 points at the net, hitting 19 winners including 11 with his forehand, while converting four of eight break points.

"I felt well on the court today. Gael is someone I haven't beaten before, so I knew had to play my best tennis and I definitely was not far away," Zverev said during his on-court interview.

Zverev will take on American 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated 10th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3.

 

TSITSIPAS OUTLASTS DE MINAUR

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas saw off a tough challenge from Australian Alex de Minaur to secure his spot in the quarter-finals 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to win against the 22nd seed, triumphing in two hours, 43 minutes.

Greek star Tsitsipas showed grit to outlast the tiring De Minaur and will face 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after he knocked off fellow seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match," Tsitsipas said. "I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match."

There were further top-10 casualties, with sixth seed Casper Ruud also bowing out 6-3 6-3 to 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who will meet Cameron Norrie in the quarters.

Andy Murray has called for more players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open next year.

Unvaccinated players are expected to be allowed to compete, but are likely to have restrictions imposed on them in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old voiced his support for such restrictions, explaining that he understands why they would be put in place.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," Murray said.

"You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That's the player's choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.

"It would be great if more players got vaccinated. Australia, in particular, has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.

"If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that's understandable."

Murray was beaten in the Indian Wells third round by Alexander Zverev, who admitted he had not been vaccinated in April, on October 12 and the German declined to take a side in the debate.

"I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated," Zverev said. "I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving.

"I don't want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don't have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don't want to go against anybody here."

Andy Murray is looking to give his body time to recover before the end of 2021 after going down to a narrow defeat against Alexander Zverev at the Indian Wells Masters.

Third seed Zverev triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a hard-fought third-round battle with Murray on Tuesday.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray had previously defeated Adrian Mannarino and rising star Carlos Alcaraz in California.

He then ran Zverev close, with the German saying afterwards he felt Murray had produced his best performance since returning from hip surgery.

Murray agreed there were positives to take from his run, but was again frustrated not to get a statement win, having also fallen in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

The Briton may play ATP Tour events in Antwerp and Vienna over the next fortnight but is soon eyeing a break that means he will not be putting himself forward for the Davis Cup Finals, which take place over 10 days from the end of November.

Recovering some freshness and spending time with his family are on Murray's agenda ahead of the Australian Open early in 2022.

"I've given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically," Murray told BBC Sport after the loss to Zverev.

"The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

"I also don't feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to [Team GB captain] Leon [Smith], but I'm not sure I deserve to play in that team.

"Right now, I'm not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

"And I want to make sure in the offseason I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well."

On the defeat to Zverev, Murray said: "The positive for me to take from it is I had opportunities again.

"I didn't feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that's positive. But I'm disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven't in the past few months."

Both players forced six break points each and fired down eight aces apiece in an even contest.

Murray broke Zverev three times across the two sets and led in each of them, but ultimately it was the world number four who progressed to book a tie with Gael Monfils in the last 16.

It was the first time Zverev had beaten Murray in three attempts and he has now triumphed against each of the Big Four, with previous wins over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to his name.

Alexander Zverev overcame former world number one Andy Murray to reach the Indian Wells Masters last 16 as Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed, but Matteo Berrettini lost.

Olympic Gamed gold medallist and third seed Zverev fell behind a break in both sets but battled past Murray in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – rallied from a set down to vanquish Fabio Fognini in the desert, while fifth seed Berrettini was a third-round casualty.

 

ZVEREV CLAIMS COVETED SCALP OF MURRAY

Having already defeated Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his career, all that was missing for Zverev was a win over Murray to complete the 'Big Four' sweep.

Zverev added Murray to his list of scalps with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory to reach the Indian Wells fourth round for the first time since 2016.

The German star has now won 19 of his last 20 matches since Wimbledon.

"He's the only one of the Big Four that I hadn't beaten yet, so I'm happy that I've done it today," said Zverev, who will clash with 14th seed Gael Monfils in the next round. "Obviously it was a fantastic match.

"I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he's played since the surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it's good to have him back."

 

TSITSIPAS FIGHTS BACK

It was far from easy for Greek star Tsitsipas, who prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-4 against 25th seed Fabio Fognini.

Tsitsipas added to his ATP Tour-leading haul of match wins this season, which now stands at 53 after Fognini had been looking to score his first victory over the French Open runner-up.

Alex de Minaur – the 22nd seed – awaits after he took down 13th seed Cristian Garin 6-4 6-2 for his first trip to the Indian Wells last 16.

 

BERRETTINI BUNDLED OUT

Wimbledon finalist Berrettini was no match for Taylor Fritz, who surprisingly topped the Italian 6-4 6-3.

Berrettini entered the contest as the only player on the ATP Tour this season to register double-digit wins on three surfaces – 15-4 (hard), 13-4 (clay) and 11-1 (grass).

"We're coming to the end of the year, I could really use a big result," said Fritz after claiming his first top-10 win of the year. "This is just what I needed, playing one of my favourite tournaments close to home."

Top-10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov were bounced from the Indian Wells Masters on Monday as number one seed Daniil Medvedev hit a season milestone. 

Tommy Paul took down Rublev, beating the fourth seed for the first time in four meetings, while the ninth-seeded Shapovalov fell to Aslan Karatsev.

The news was not all bad for the higher seeds, though, as US Open champion Medvedev picked up his 50th win of the year. 

 

PAUL DOWNS RUBLEV

Playing in the main draw at Indian Wells for the first time, the 24-year-old American Paul outlasted Rublev 6-4 3-6 7-5 for his second win in eight career matches against top-10 players.

Paul was on the offensive throughout the match, firing 41 winners while making 37 unforced errors, while Rublev had 23 of each. 

The Russian will lament missed opportunities, as he converted just four of 14 break point chances before watching Paul break him twice in the final set to prevail. 

Paul moves on to face 21st seed Cameron Norrie, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 5-7 6-3.

 

MEDVEDEV NOTCHES 50TH WIN

Medvedev had to work a bit to get past 27th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2 7-6 (7-1), improving to 38-5 on hard courts in 2021. Only Stefanos Tsitsipas (52) has more victories overall this year. 

The Russian had 25 winners and 18 unforced errors while winning 70 per cent of points on his first serve. 

He next faces 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who downed 16th seed Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4. 

 

KARATSEV UPSETS SHAPOVALOV

Playing at Indian Wells for the first time, 19th seed Karatsev upset Shapovalov 7-5 6-2, saving the only break point he faced in the match.

Casper Ruud, seeded sixth, rallied past Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 as he seeks his sixth tournament title this year. 

He will face 11th seed Diego Schwartzmann, who beat 18th seed Daniel Evans 5-7 6-4 6-0 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells for the first time.

Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz had little trouble with Frances Tiafoe, rolling past the American in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, advanced via walkover when John Isner withdrew from the tournament to fly home and be with his wife Madison with their third child expected to arrive ahead of schedule on Tuesday. 

Andy Murray put his body to the test as the former world number one overcame teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz at the Indian Wells Masters, where stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round.

Murray needed more than three hours to see off 18-year-old talent Alcaraz, who announced himself on the big stage with a quarter-final run at the US Open.

An Indian Wells runner-up in 2009, Murray was joined in the next round by second seed Tsitsipas and third seed Zverev on Sunday.

 

MURRAY WINS BATTLE OF GENERATIONS

Injuries have struck down Murray in recent years, but the three-time grand slam champion showed there is still plenty of fight left in the tank after rallying past debutant Alcaraz 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Facing a player 16 years his junior, Murray – making his 13th Indian Wells appearance – reached the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since 2016.

The 34-year-old Murray, who hit an underarm ace, improved his record to 27-12 in the desert following three hours, four minutes on court.

"He's obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it's not easy to finish points off quickly, but he's able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down," said Murray, who will next meet Zverev. 

"I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn't get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought. He's a top-drawer young player."

 

ZVEREV QUALIFIES FOR TURIN AS TSITSIPAS CRUISES

US Open finalist and Olympic gold medallist Zverev outlasted talented American Jenson Brooksby 6-4 3-6 6-1 to set up a showdown with Murray.

World number four Zverev ended the contest with 12 aces and 28 winners, having qualified for next month's ATP Finals in Turin thanks to the German's four tour-level titles in 2021.

"It wasn't an easy match, but I'm happy to be through, I'm happy to be in the third round and playing Andy now," said Zverev, who has won 18 of his last 19 matches since Wimbledon. "I think he's the only one of the 'Big Four' [including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer] I haven't beaten yet, so I hope I can change that. I think it's incredible how well he's moving and incredible how well he's playing. I think he's very motivated so I hope I can show my best tennis."

It was far more routine for Greek star Tsitsipas, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-2 6-4 in his tournament opener.

Tsitsipas needed just 93 minutes to take down his opponent for his Tour-leading 52nd win of the season as the French Open runner-up awaits 25th seed Fabio Fognini for a place in the fourth round.

 

BERRETTINI ROLLS ON AS AUGER-ALIASSIME SAYS GOODBYE

Italian fifth seed Matteo Berrettini won through to the third round via a 6-4 7-5 success against qualifier Alejandro Tabilo – his first Indian Wells win following two previous appearances.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was the biggest name to depart the event on Sunday, with the seventh seed and Flushing Meadows semi-finalist going down 6-4 6-2 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Jannik Sinner, Pablo Carreno Busta, Cristian Garin and Gael Monfils were among the seeds to progress.

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Three-time major winner Andy Murray marked his return to the Indian Wells Masters with a strong 6-3 6-2 win over dangerous Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in Friday's first-round encounter.

Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.

The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.

"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."

On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.

"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."

BROOKSBY SETS UP ZVEREV DATE

Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.

The 20-year-old world number 79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.

Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.

The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked 307th.

 

SOCK PUT AWAY BY AUSTRALIAN

Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.

Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.

World number 61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.

Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.

Andy Murray is "back in the good books" with wife Kim after his missing wedding ring was found at Indian Wells.

The former world number one had issued a plea on social media after his precious band was lost in bizarre circumstances.

Three-time grand slam champion Murray ties the ring to his shoes while he is playing and had forgotten to remove it when he left the footwear outside to dry out.

The shoes were taken and that left Murray in trouble back at home, but his appeal to be reunited with his belongings soon bore fruit.

"Huge thanks for all the messages and to everyone for sharing the story," Murray said on Instagram.

"I had to make a few calls and chat to the security at the hotel but would you believe it?

"They still absolutely stink but the shoes are back, the wedding ring is back and I'm back in the good books – let's go!"

Murray's Indian Wells Masters campaign begins against Adrian Mannarino in California on Friday.

Frances Tiafoe has not found much success at the Indian Wells Masters, but the young American is off to a strong start this year after defeating Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4 on Thursday. 

Playing in his first match since a fourth-round loss at the US Open, the world number 49 eased past the man ranked one spot below him, reaching the second round at the event for the first time since 2016. 

Tiafoe came up with the big shots when he needed them, converting four of five chances to break Paire's serve, as the veteran suffered 30 unforced errors to just 20 winners. 

"I definitely took a long time off after the Open, the longest time I’ve taken in the middle of the season in a while, so [I was] a little rusty in the beginning and in the days leading up I wasn’t feeling great," Tiafoe said in his on-court interview.

"Happy to just get a first round under my belt. Obviously tonight was up and down, Benoit wasn’t having the best of days, but you take that."

Tiafoe will face his 32nd-seeded countryman Sebastian Korda next. 

 

NISHIKORI GOOD AS EVER IN DECIDER

Kei Nishikori is among the most reliable players on the ATP Tour in deciding sets, and he prevailed in the third yet again with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-2 defeat of qualifier Joao Sousa. 

Only world number one Novak Djokovic has a better winning percentage than Nishikori's 147-55 mark (72.8) in deciders, and the Japanese veteran put away Sousa with relative ease after dropping the first-set tie-breaker. 

Nishikori hit 40 winners with 23 unforced errors in the match, to Sousa's 22 winners and 20 unforced errors. He moves on to face 18th seed Daniel Evans in the second round. 

 

PAUL SPOILS LOPEZ MILESTONE

Feliciano Lopez achieved a milestone just by stepping on the court as he set a record by appearing in his 139th ATP Masters 1000 event – one more than Roger Federer – but that was the only positive as the 40-year-old Spaniard fell to Tommy Paul 6-3 7-6 (7-3).

The 24-year-old American, ranked 60th in the world, won 70 per cent of his service points to prevail in his Indian Wells debut. 

Another tournament newcomer, Germany's Daniel Altmaier, defeated former quarter-finalist Sam Querrey 6-2 6-4 in just over an hour. 

Another USA veteran, Steve Johnson lost 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5 to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who also is playing the event for the first time. 

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