Roger Federer outlasted hard-serving Milos Raonic 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday night, extending his run of winning 35 of 37 matches since last year’s US Open.
Rafael Nadal did not have as much trouble in beating fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-4.
It was similarly easy on the women’s side for top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova, who won their matches in little more than an hour to reach the quarter-finals.
Ana Ivanovic defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2 in a matchup of former Indian Wells champions and former top-ranked players. Ivanovic held at love to complete her biggest win over a top 10 player in months.
Raonic came into his first match against Federer having won 16 of his previous 18 matches this year, but he fell to 0-7 against top-eight players with the loss.
“I thought before the match I had a chance to win this,” Raonic said. “I did a few things well in the first set, and after that he just picked it up on the return. I don’t think I served as well after, either.”
Federer broke to open the second set and broke again in the seventh game to level the match. In the third, he broke Raonic to go 4-3 up. Raonic held at love, before Federer won four straight points to close out his 73rd consecutive win against players outside the top 20.
“I was getting to the ball often in the beginning, but just not making the plays,” Federer said. “I was able to improve, and once I got that going maybe his serving also just dropped a tiny bit and gave me more opportunities on his second serves. That was a big second set for me to get momentum, particularly the first break of the second set.”
Federer has not been feeling well since he arrived in Indian Wells, blaming sickness among his family rather than the viral illness that has knocked eight players out of the tournament.
“Slow improvements,” he said. “I’m still not 100 percent.”
World No. 2 Nadal has won his past 10 matches against Spaniards.
“I didn’t play my best in the second,” Nadal said. “I had a few mistakes, especially for the backhand, but I am happy that I finished the match well.”
Nadal is scheduled to face No. 21 Alexandr Dolgopolov in the quarter-finals.
Also on the men’s side, No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced, but fifth seed David Ferrer lost for just the second time this year, 6-4, 6-3 to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Ferrer had already won three titles this season and he was seeking his 20th match win.
Istomin set himself up for a fourth-round match against No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 7-6 (8/6). Verdasco failed to convert on six break points in the match.
David Nalbandian defeated 10th seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, while Thomaz Bellucci advanced when Nikolay Davydenko withdrew because of illness.
Azarenka, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Julia Goerges, moved on to play fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who advanced when wild-card Jamie Hampton of the US retired with cramping in the third set while trailing 3-6, 6-4, 3-0.
Azarenka (20-0) and Radwanska (20-3) have the most match wins this year on the WTA Tour.
Sharapova, who lost to Azarenka in a lopsided Australian Open final, beat Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-1 to set up an all-Russian quarter-final against 20th seed Maria Kirilenko, who beat No. 30 Nadia Petrova 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.