Indian Wells, California:Roger Federer took the first step toward another possible final against top-ranked Rafael Nadal by beating Frenchman Marc Gicquel 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.
Federer is the No. 2 seed in the 96-player field. Spaniard Nadal, who will play his second round match on Sunday afternoon, is No. 1. Those two could meet for the 20th time in the March 22 final.
A more immediate concern for Federer, however, is working his way through a bracket that is set up for possible semifinal against No. 4 seed Andy Murray of Britain, who wasn't at his best but still beat Albert Montanes of Spain, 7-5, 6-3, in their second round match.
The No. 8 seed Gilles Simon of France struggled to a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win over Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan, but the women's field lost No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who was upset by 17-year-old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-4.
The loss continued an early season slump by Jankovic, who finished last year ranked No. 1, but changed her training routine during the offseason and said she lost mobility in the process.
"My best weapon was my legs," Jankovic said. "I always moved well and I had the anticipation and I was always on the ball. Now I just cannot do that. I'm one step too slow or one step too much into the shot, and then all the strokes break down and I don't have the timing and my accuracy is not there. Overall, everything is wrong. I need a lot of work."
American James Blake, the No. 13 seed, beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3, while 17th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile got past Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, reprising his win at the Australian Open.
Federer, who was playing for the first time since withdrawing from a tournament in Dubai and the first round of Davis Cup due to back problems, said he felt fit.
"A bit rusty maybe, coming back from not having played," Federer said. "I'm happy I've won. That's always most important."
Murray said essentially the same thing after his win while complaining of being tired due to a heavy early season schedule.
"I saw that I wasn't going to play my best tennis and it would be dumb to think like that," Murray said. "I moved great, the best I had moved in quite a while. I wasn't hitting the ball particularly well, but I moved well."
On the women's side, No. 3 seed Elena Dementieva of Russia also complained of being tired. But unlike Murray, she didn't move well and lost, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, to 24-year-old Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-1, in another second-round match.
Reigning champion and No. 5 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia began her quest for a second straight title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus and men's No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia, 7-5, 6-3.
No. 7 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland beat Samantha Stosur of Australia, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, to join younger sister Urszula Radwanka in the third round. Urszula Radwanka, ranked No. 107 to her sister's No. 10, provided an upset the previous day by beating No. 6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Dementieva, who was playing in her seventh event of the young season, said she will take a couple of much-needed days off and then get ready for the next tournament, at Miami.
"I just feel like I probably shouldn't (have) come here because ... I just needed to take some time off and get ready and recover. I just needed a much longer break to get ready to play at my best," she said. "It was a very short period of time (off) after Dubai. When it was time to start practice again I was just too tired. That probably was the worst match for a long time for me."
It was the best match ever for Cetkovska, a pro since 2000 with a career-best ranking of No. 49 in June, 2008.
"I was still playing and still trying to believe that I can do it and to play every point and we'll see what will happen," Cetkovska said.