Roger Federer and Andy Murray both blasted through modest opposition on Sunday as the Miami Masters moved towards its concluding week, with both seeds now cued up to face Frenchman.
Fifth seed Federer, champion in 2005-2006, neutralised the big game of Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-3 while holder Murray beat Spanish friend and practise partner Feliciano Lopez for a ninth time without defeat, 6-4, 6-1.
Federer, winner of the Dubai title and finalist at Indian Wells this month, will take an 11-2 record into his match with Richard Gasquet, whom he beat in their last meeting in November in London after the French player defeated Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4.
Murray faces 11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who put out Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. Tsonga fought back from a set down and trailing 5-1 in the second-set tiebreaker to carve out victory in two and a half hours with 16 aces.
Federer, a winner of 21 matches in 2014, advanced in barely an hour and said that he is feeling good with his game and comfortable with his new racquet.
“I’m feeling really good with my game, my confidence is high and I’m moving well. I’m excited about how I’ve been playing.” Murray lifted his level after struggling in his opening match. He defeated Lopez but not without some difficulty in soaring heat and Florida humidity.
“It’s not always that easy to feel comfortable against him because there is not loads of rhythm with the way he plays,” Murray said.
“But I moved well, returned well.
“It was obviously a more comfortable scoreline than the other day,” after he needed three sets to beat Matthew Ebden of Australia.
“I don’t know how hot it was, but when we came over at like 9:30 it was already 80 Fahrenheit (26 Celsius) and it was extremely humid.
They are not easy conditions.” Spanish 16th seed Tommy Robredo reached the fourth round over Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 6-4.
In women’s play, Australian Open champion Li Na defeated American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the third round.
China’s Li, the second seed and world number two, spent almost one and three-quarter hours in earning her third-round victory - nearly an hour of that time taken up by a lengthy first set.
World number 38 Keys had moments of form but eventually could not stand the champion’s pace of her opponent, a double grand slam winner.
Keys missed two set points at 5-3 in the opening set as the seed escaped into a tiebreaker, where she won on the first of four set points.
In the second, Li came back from 2-0 down with five unanswered games, profiting from a run of errors from the nervous Keys. Li served out the victory, which came despite seven double-faults and just 11 winners, in the ninth game.
“It was a pretty tough match,” said Li. “She played well, big serve, big forehand, especially when she was 3-1 down and then come back 5-3 up and serve for the first set.” Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska kept up her knee injury recovery after losing the weekend final in Indian Wells, beating Elena Vesnina 7-5, 6-3.