Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both battled through three-set thrillers on Wednesday to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal at the ATP Masters/WTA BNP Paribas Open.
Defending champion Federer defeated fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5, labouring two hours and 20 minutes to subdue his old friend.
Nadal, playing his fourth tournament since returning from a seven-month injury absence, outlasted the in-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
The other two of the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis also reached the quarterfinals of combined ATP Masters and WTA event.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated American Sam Querrey 6-0, 7-6(6) in a match that started after midnight and finished around 2 a.m. on Thursday.
World No. 3 Andy Murray beat unseeded Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 7-6(4), 6-4.
A packed schedule on stadium court saw Nadal’s match, the last of the day session, finish at 9:47 p.m.
Then came Maria Sharapova’s 7-6(6), 6-2 victory over Italy’s Sara Errani in a rematch of the French Open final won by the Russian superstar last year.
Kirilenko stuns Kvitova
Sharapova booked a semifinal clash with Maria Kirilenko, who upset fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the only other women’s match of the day.
Djokovic, a two-time winner here in 2008 and 2011, next faces France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 winner over Canadian Milos Raonic.
Murray will take on another Argentinian, seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro. del Potro cruised past German veteran Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-2.
Sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych also advanced, beating France’s Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-5 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with South African Kevin Anderson — a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 winner over France’s Gilles Simon.
The results: Men: Fourth round: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga bt Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; Kevin Anderson bt Gilles Simon 6-3, 1-6, 6-4; Tomas Berdych bt Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-5; Roger Federer bt Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5; Andy Murray bt Carlos Berlocq 7-6(4), 6-4; Juan Martin del Potro bt Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-2; Rafael Nadal bt Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-4, 7-5; Novak Djokovic bt Sam Querrey 6-0, 7-6(6).
Women: Quarterfinals: Maria Kirilenko bt Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; Maria Sharapova bt Sara Errani 7-6(6), 6-2. — Agencies