Indian Wells, CA – Lleyton Hewitt, Ernests Gulbis and Ryan Harrison were first-round winnners at the first Masters 1000 event of the year -- the $4.33 million BNP Paribas Open.
Hewitt downed Lukas Rosol 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on the hardcourts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 Hewitt was a back-to-back Indian Wells titlist in 2002 and 2003 and runner-up in 2005.
Gulbis, fresh off his title in Delray Beach, took down Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-2, while Harrison defeated Go Soeda 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
Also advancing on Day 1 were Bernard Tomic, David Goffin, Jarkko Nieminen, Paolo Lorenzi, Benoit Paire, Mischa Zverev, David Nalbandian, Kevin Anderson, Leonardo Mayer, Daniel Brands, Wayne Odesnik, Ivan Dodig and Denis Istomin.
The great Roger Federer titled here for the fourth time last year by beating 6-foot-9 American John Isner in the final. The Swiss icon is a perfect 4-0 when he reaches the championship round in the California desert.
The top seeds at this lucrative 11-day event are world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the former top-ranked Federer, U.S. Open champ and 2009 Indian Wells runner-up Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and another former No. 1, Rafael Nadal. Djokovic is a two-time champion and former Indian Wells runner-up, while Nadal is also a two-time winner and former runner-up at this tournament.
Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win eight of the last nine titles here.
The 2013 Indian Wells titlist will collect $1 million.