INDIAN WELLS: Twice champion Rafa Nadal was gifted a place in the last 16 of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday when Argentina's Leonardo Mayer withdrew before their third-round match with a back injury.
Spaniard Nadal, who said he had been "very scared" after experiencing his first earthquake a few hours earlier, will next face Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who fought back to beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 5-7 6-3 6-4.
"That's bad news, for sure, for the fans and for Mayer, especially," world number five Nadal told reporters at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"Just a typical back problem, beginning when he was warming up his serve. The physio says maybe in four days, five days he will be ready. That's the most important thing, that nothing is serious."
Asked when he had heard that Mayer had pulled out of the tournament, left-hander Nadal replied: "I was ready (for the match). I was doing my fingers tape.
Mayer's withdrawal came as a mixed blessing for Nadal who could do with more matches under his belt as he continues his comeback after being sidelined for seven months last year by a lingering left knee injury.
Seeded fifth at Indian Wells where he won the title in 2007 and 2009, the former world number one beat American Ryan Harrison 7-6 6-2 in his opening match here as he competes in his first tournament on a hardcourt surface in almost a year.


Latest News from Sports News Desk