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Schuettler swings into Indian Wells main draw

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Originally published on: 12/03/10 12:26

At 33, Rainer Schuettler will be the oldest player in the 96-strong men’s field in Indian Wells this week after the German ensured his place in the main draw for a 10th straight year.

The former Australian Open finalist rallied back from a set down to defeat Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti in the final round of qualifying on Wednesday.

Schuettler qualified for the Masters 1000 event in the same fashion in 2007 and 2008, but will be keen for improved fortunes in the main draw this time out after bowing out in the first round on both previous occasions.

A former world No.5, Schuettler’s previous best result at the BNP Paribas Open – the world’s best-attended tournament outside the four Grand Slams – was a semi-final berth in 2003, improving on the spot in the quarters he claimed the previous year.

Now the world No.90, Schuettler – who turns 34 on April 25 – has won four titles in his 15-year pro career.

And after dropping out of the top hundred just a year after reaching his career-high No.5 ranking in 2004, Schuettler achieved something of a renaissance four seasons later; making the Wimbledon semi-finals before losing to eventual winner and the current defending champ in Indian Wells; Rafael Nadal.

At the opposite end of the scale, joining Schuettler in the first round in the Californian desert is 284th-ranked Ryan Harrison – 17 years his junior.

The 17-year-old American – a student of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy – has earned a wildcard into the event despite losing in the first round of all four ATP tournaments in which he has featured this year.

Tipped for a bright future, regardless of his losing start to the ATP calendar in 2010, Harrison faces fellow American Taylor Dent for a spot in the second round in Indian Wells on Thursday evening.

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