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U.S. tennis players wilting in the Indian Wells desert

With the star of the day, second-seeded Novak Djokovic, advancing as expected Sunday, it seemed timely to survey the results of tennis players from the United States. This BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is, after all, one of the country's bigger tennis events.

There is good news and bad news. Mostly bad, enough for the U.S. Tennis Assn., whose mandate it is to produce U.S. players, not to answer its phones for a couple of days.

On the men's side, the top-ranking U.S. player, John Isner, is still alive and kicking. He won his first match as the No. 12 seed, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (3), against a once-prominent-but-no-longer-ranked Russian, Nikolay Davydenko.

For the U.S. men, that's it.

There is Isner and 13 players who have already lost. And the men's competition is only through the second round.

On the women's side, the news is brighter, but hardly glaring. Lauren Davis, a 20-year-old from Ohio, ranked No. 93 coming in, won her second match, beating another U.S. player, Varvara Lepchenko, 6-0, 6-7 (2).

And Sloane Stephens, seeded 17th, will play a featured evening match Monday on the main stadium court against 11th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. The winner advances to the round of 16.

For the women, that's also it. Ten others from the U.S. have departed. That makes the U.S. score so far in this event 3-23.

Isner, when questioned about the current state of U.S. men's tennis, said he rooted for the other guys, but that, as is the nature of the game, added, “Selfishly, I'm just worried about myself.”

Davis received similar questions and replied contradictorily.

“I think the American women are doing quite well right now. We push each other and motivate each other.”

A minute later: “We all try to focus on ourselves, for the most part.”

In the featured night match, Djokovic went down a break early against Victor Hanescu of Romania, but rallied, coasted through a tiebreaker in the first set and won the match, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych, the Australian Open finalist, lost his first match, going out against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

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