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Angelique Kerber Drops Another Indian Wells Opener – New York Times

Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, crashed out of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday, and two other top-seeded women also left in the second round at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The second-seeded Kerber of Germany lost, 7-5, 7-5, to Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic in the opening match of the day on the main stadium court. Fourth-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain dropped a 7-5, 6-1 decision to Christina McHale of the United States, and sixth-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain withdrew because of a right ankle injury.

Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in January for the title in Australia, led Allertova, 4-2, in the second set but fell behind, 6-5, then double-faulted, giving Allertova match point. Kerber, No. 2 in the world, then hit a forehand long to finish her third straight opening-match loss in the event.

“I was trying to find my rhythm and play my game, but it was not my day,” said Kerber, who still was adjusting to the demands on her time that go with being a Grand Slam champion.

“The pressure is much different than it was a few months ago,” Kerber said, “it’s a completely new situation for me, but I’m trying to get used to it. I will try to learn from this experience, this match, and get better in the next few weeks.”

Seventh-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland survived with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Lauren Davis of the United States, and ninth-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy held off Margarita Gasparyan of Russia, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5).

But the big winner was Williams, who did not play. She will face Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan on Sunday — and seldom needs any help.

Williams, ranked No. 1 in the world, is in the top half of the bracket with third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, a possible semifinal foe; fifth-seeded Simona Halep, a potential quarterfinal opponent; and eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova. Bencic and Vinci are the highest seeds left in the bottom half of the bracket.

On the men’s side, second-seeded Andy Murray of Scotland beat Marcel Granollers of Spain, 6-4, 7-6 (3), and third-seeded Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland beat Illya Marchenko of Ukraine, 6-3 6-2. Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet, 12th-seeded Milos Raonic and 13th-seeded Gaël Monfils also advanced with straight-set wins.

Berdych, of the Czech Republic, beat Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina, 7-6 (4), 6-2; Gasquet topped his fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 6-1; Raonic, a Canadian, was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over Iñigo Cervantes-Huegun of Spain; and Monfils, of France, beat Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain, 7-5, 7-6 (1).

The only loss of note was by Nick Kyrgios of Australia, the 24th seed, who was beaten by Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, 7-6 (4), 7-5. At 2-2 in the second set, the umpire Damien Dumusois docked Kyrgios a point for using foul language.

Muguruza, who reached the Wimbledon final last year and finished at No. 3 in the world, has struggled early this season and said a few days ago that she needed a good deal more work on her game. She made a few dozen mistakes against McHale, who was No. 24 in the world before a bout of mononucleosis derailed her late in 2012. She is No. 62 now.

“I think Christina was playing very good today,” Muguruza said. “The first set it was much more tough and difficult, and she was playing very good and she got the first set. Then, the second set, I think my energy went a little bit down, and she kind of used it and went for the match.

“Obviously you’re frustrated when you’re trying and you don’t find really what you want to do,” she added.

SUPPORT FOR NADAL Real Madrid, the Spanish soccer giant, joined the defense of Rafael Nadal after doping accusations made by Roselyne Bachelot, the former French minister for health and sport. Bachelot said on French television on Thursday that Nadal’s seven-month injury hiatus in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test.”

On Saturday, Real Madrid expressed its “total support” for Nadal and called the accusations “unjustifiable and intolerable.”

Nadal is a prominent fan of Madrid and a “member of honor” of the club. The Spanish Olympic Committee, the national team manager Vicente del Bosque and Barcelona Coach Luis Enrique have also supported Nadal, who denies any wrongdoing.

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