Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic recovered from a poor start, while third seed Andy Murray displayed much sharper form as they both advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.
Top seed Djokovic beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 in an error-strewn match on the Stadium Court in hot afternoon conditions, before Scotsman Murray overcame Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun 6-3, 6-2 in an evening encounter.
Seventh seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina brushed aside Germany’s Bjoern Phau 6-2, 7-5, while eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withstood a fast start by Mardy Fish to overcome the American 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/10).
Djokovic came from 2-5 down to win his opening set 7-4 on the tiebreak, then broke his opponent’s serve in the second and sixth games of the second set to seal victory in just more than an hour.
Dimitrov, who at 21 was the youngest player left in the draw, made four double faults when serving for the first set at 5-3 and his challenge then quickly folded.
Serb Djokovic extended his winning streak to 20 matches, his last defeat coming in October to big-serving American Sam Querrey in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris.
Intriguingly, the pair will meet again in the last 16 at Indian Wells, Querrey having scraped past Australian Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (7/5), 6-7, 7-5 (7/9) earlier in the day.
World No. 3 Murray was delighted to gain revenge against Lu, who beat the Scot in their only previous meeting, in the first round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“It was a tough match,” Murray said after breaking his opponent’s serve twice in each set, while also having to battle hard to hold his own serve early on.
US Open champion Murray is next to face Carlos Berlocq of Argentina, who eased past Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-2.
In other matches, Canadian Milos Raonic fired down 16 aces as he battled past Croatia’s Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Germany’s Tommy Haas won a cliffhanger against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/2).
In the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova stepped it up when she had to on Tuesday to set up a quarter-final clash with Sara Errani, a rematch of last year’s French Open final.
Russia’s Sharapova defeated Errani in straight sets in the championship match at Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam.
The Russian star, who won Indian Wells in 2006 and finished runner-up last year to Victoria Azarenka, started slowly against Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, but turned up the heat to win 7-5, 6-0.
Errani, who won the women’s clay-court title in Acapulco in the buildup to Indian Wells, advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France.
Top-seeded Azarenka also advanced, shrugging off a sore ankle to beat Urszula Radwanska 6-3, 6-1.
Azarenka remained unbeaten in this year’s season, that has included an Australian Open triumph and a WTA title at Doha.
Wozniacki, the 2011 Indian Wells winner, beat Russian Nadia Petrova 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Russian Maria Kirilenko upset third seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. Kirilenko is to play former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fifth seed, who beat Klara Zakapalova 6-2, 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber defeated Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 7-5, while Stosur downed Germany’s Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
In the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Janette Husarova of Slovakia lost to Russia’s Ekatarina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 10-7.