Indian Wells, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Czech veteran Radek Stepanek was among the Day 1 winners at the $4.72 million BNP Paribas Open tennis event.
The 35-year-old one-time world No. 8 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 pair of all-American affairs saw 35-year-old journeyman Michael Russell take out left-hander Donald Young 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and Tim Smyczek tackle Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
Also advancing were Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, France's Edouard Roger- Vasselin, Czech Jiri Vesely, 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.