New Zealand doubles player Marcus Daniell has made a brilliant start to the prestigious ATP Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells, the BNP Paribas Open.
Daniell and his Argentine partner Diego Schwartzman have won through to the second round 4-6, 6-2, 10-7 over German Philip Kohlschreiber and Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Daniell was the only doubles specialist on the court and he played superbly throughout the 1 hr 13 min encounter.
Playing with Schwartzman for the first time, they took a while to get going and were broken twice in the first set which Pouille and Kohlschreiber took in 34 minutes.
But the Kiwi and Argentine stepped it up in the second set and broke their opponents serve twice to take it 6-2 and force a deciding match tie break.
Daniell and Schwartzman quickly gained the ascendency and led 4-2 and 5-4 before winning 3 points in a row to extend to 8-4. Although Pouille and Kohlschreiber rallied Daniell brought up three match points at 9-6 with some crispy volleying at the net. He clinched the match on his second match point with an unreturnable serve.
"We came here for the first time and took us a while to get going but after getting the first set we were able to sneak over the line." Daniell said.
It's only the Kiwi's second ever Masters 1000 tournament after debuting in Miami last year. Daniell had to split from his regular partner Britain's Dominic Inglot to get into the tournament with Schwartzman ranked 17 in singles meaning Daniell who has a ATP doubles ranking of 36 could get in the main draw which has a Grand Slam look about it
The draw has opened up for Daniell and Schwartzman who will face the unseeded French pair of Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin in the second round. They ousted second seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers.
Meanwhile Kiwi number one Michael Venus opens his campaign with his South African partner Raven Klaasen on Sunday afternoon.
They have been pitted against Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. They are a tough team who made the final at the Australian Open in January and who Venus and his then-partner American Ryan Harrison beat in the semi-finals at last year's French Open before going on to win the title.
Tournament owner Larry Ellison has put up a $1million US bonus to any man or woman who wins both the singles and doubles titles. It's prompted an increase in the number of top singles players entering the men's doubles. Five top 10 ranked singles players and 10 of the top 20 have entered the doubles headed by world number four Grigor Dimitrov who is partnered with eighth ranked Juan Martin Del Potro. Other notable singles players in the doubles draw include world number five Alexander Zverev playing with his brother Mischa, sixth ranked Dominic Thiem and world number 10 Jack Sock.