Second-seeded Novak Djokovic survived a scare, but it was smooth sailing for defending champion Rafael Nadal on Monday as both moved into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Serbia’s Djokovic saved three match points en route to a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3) victory over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.
After breaking in the first game of the second set and holding for a 2-0 lead, Djokovic dropped the next nine games and found himself fighting to stay alive.
The Serb stopped the rot when he held serve to narrow the gap in the third set to 3-1, but even after he had reeled off four games in a row, Djokovic wasn’t out of the woods.
Kohlschreiber broke him again to level the set at 4-4 and had Djokovic on the ropes — down 4-5 and 0-40 on his own serve.
An overhead winner from Djokovic and a wayward backhand from Kohlschreiber took care of two match points.
The pair then battled through a long rally that ended when Kohlschreiber netted a backhand.
Djokovic gave himself some breathing space with an ace, but promptly double-faulted before finally holding serve.
In the tiebreaker, Djokovic seized control quickly, taking a 4-0 lead and closing out the contest on his first match point.
Nadal dispatched Croatian Mario Ancic 6-2, 6-2 in little more than an hour.
Third-round action in the women’s tournament featured a see-saw battle between sixth-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic and Italian Sara Errani, in which Jankovic emerged with a 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 victory after two hours and 48 minutes.
Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova beat former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters Clijsters of Belgium 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 while third-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus fell 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Defending champion Vera Zvonareva downed Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-3.