Federer, Murray in Quarters, Zvonareva in semis at Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS, California: Roger Federer and Andy Murray edged closer to a semi-final clash at the Indian Wells hardcourt tennis tournament Wednesday, each booking his quarter-final berth.
World No.2 Federer, playing his first tournament since falling in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, got past Chilean Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
Fourth-seeded Murray had an easier than expected time, reaching the quarters as fourth-round opponent Tommy Robredo retired with an injured right wrist as Murray led 6-2, 3-0.
Despite the difficulties, Federer stretched his record over Gonzalez to 12-1, and lined up a quarter-final clash that promised another test of his ground game against Spain''s Fernando Verdasco.
Verdasco, who powered to the semi-finals of the Australian Open where he was felled by Nadal, defeated unseeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Like Federer, Murray arrived in California after some time off, having withdrawn after reaching the quarter-finals in Dubai two weeks ago and then skipping the Davis Cup because of a virus.
Murray had lost to Robredo in their last two encounters and got off to a slow start, dropping his serve to trail 1-2.
Murray next faces Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic, who defeated Russian Igor Andreev 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4) in a match lasting more than three hours.
Nadal was the star attraction of the night session, taking on Argentina''s David Nalbandian in a fourth-round clash.
Nadal has not won a set from Nalbandian in two prior career meetings, both in 2007.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic, seeded third, made it into the quarters with a hard-fought 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (8/6) victory over Switzerland''s Stanislas Wawrinka.
In other fourth-round matches, sixth-seeded Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro took on US wildcard John Isner and seventh-seeded American Andy Roddick took on Spain''s David Ferrer.
Women''s quarter-final matches were also on Wednesday''s slate, with top-seeded Russian Dinara Safina taking on eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
Fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva booked a semi-final berth with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over ninth-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki.