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Rafael Nadal wins 50 per cent of his return points on Tuesday against Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal Flawless In Dominant Win Against Schwartzman

Second seed to face qualifier Krajinovic for quarter-final spot

Rafael Nadal has not won the BNP Paribas Open since 2013. But the second seed looks sharp in Indian Wells this year, beating 25th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the fourth round.

Nadal  his strong play in 2019, moving to 9-2 on the season, with his only losses coming against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final and Aussie Nick Kyrgios in a hard-fought third-set tie-break at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.

"I did a lot of things well. I started the match very well," Nadal said. "My serve worked very well, especially in the first set. But during the second, I was doing things well anyway, so just happy having a match that I suffered in the past against Diego. We know each other well, so it's a positive victory for me." 

Three-time Indian Wells titlist Nadal owns the record for most ATP Masters 1000 trophies with 33. But Djokovic is hot on his tail with 32, so Nadal could give himself breathing room by triumphing again in the desert.

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The Spaniard relentlessly pressured Schwartzman throughout their one-hour, 15-minute encounter, preventing the Argentine from stepping into the court by attacking early in nearly every rally.

"[There] arrived a moment that I think I was playing too aggressive. So then I stopped a little bit the game, changing the rhythm of the point more times, and I think that worked well for me," Nadal said.  "[I'm] happy by the way that I played. I did a lot of things well." 

Nadal extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Schwartzman to 7-0, with five of his victories coming in straight sets. The diminutive Argentine had battled Nadal well in the past, though, taking a set from the Spaniard at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros last year.

"In Roland Garros he had been up a set and a break. In Australia [it was] a very long four-set match," Nadal said. "Today I played very well, and took my chances. I was solid with my serve, and I did a lot of things well, I think. I don't believe it's something about Diego. It's something about the way that I played today more than anything."

The second seed will next play 2017 Rolex Paris Masters finalist Filip Krajinovic, who upset in-form 14th seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 in only 78 minutes.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/filip-krajinovic/kb05/overview'>Filip Krajinovic</a> hits a volley at the 2019 <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments/indian-wells/404/overview'>BNP Paribas Open</a>

The World No. 113 has won five matches without losing a set since arriving in Indian Wells, since he had to qualify to reach the main draw. Krajinovic won 14 tour-level matches in 2018, but after defeating Medvedev, he already has nine victories this season. Krajinovic took advantage of Medvedev’s second serve, winning 57 per cent of those points. The 27-year-old saved the two break points he faced.

"I think I played really well from the beginning of the tournament," said Krajinovic. "I was a little bit scared last night because I was a little bit sick. I didn’t know what to expect today, but everything went really well. I think I played a very, very good game today, and beat a rival who is an unbelievable player and who started the season really well so I’m happy for that and excited for the next one."

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In other action in the fourth quarter of the draw, 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier John Isner beat 32nd seed Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes. The American lost just seven service points in the match.

Next up for Isner will be 12th seed Karen Khachanov, who ousted compatriot Andrey Rublev, a lucky loser, 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 32 minutes. Khachanov has won all three of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against the eight-seed.

"Every time I have played him, I felt like he played extremely well. I just feel like I ran into a buzzsaw of sorts. He's got a big game," Khachanov said. "[He] does a lot of things really well and is someone to really look out for in the future."

Did You Know?
Nadal is now 13-1 against Argentines since the start of 2017, with his only loss coming at last year’s US Open against Juan Martin del Potro.