Indian Wells, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Two-time champion Lleyton Hewitt and Czech Radek Stepanek were among the Day 1 winners at the $4.72 million BNP Paribas Open tennis event.
Hewitt battled past fellow Australian Matthew Ebden 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3. The former world No. 1 titled here back-to-back in 2002 and 2003 and was the runner-up in 2005.
Stepanek held off Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 and will face world No. 1 superstar and reigning champion Rafael Nadal in the second round this weekend at the beautiful Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The three-time titlist Nadal beat Juan Martin del Potro in last year's marquee Indian Wells finale.
Meanwhile, a trio of all-American affairs saw Sam Querrey defeat qualifier Alex Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-3, 35-year-old journeyman Michael Russell take out left-hander Donald Young 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and Tim Smyczek tackle wild card Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
Also advancing were American wild card Ryan Harrison, Argentine Juan Monaco, Croat Ivo Karlovic, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, Czech Lukas Rosol, France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Colombian Santiago Giraldo, Czech Jiri Vesely, French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu and Colombian Alejandro Falla, who doused last week's surprise Sao Paulo champion Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.
This week's top seeds are Nadal, two-time winner Novak Djokovic and Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka. Four-time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer, fresh off his title in Dubai, is the seventh seed here.