High drama at Indian Wells as Djokovic, Nadal progress
Novak Djokovic looked back to his best as he sealed his quarter-finals berth, but it was a completely different story for fellow big guns Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.
Djokovic smashed Feliciano Lopez in straight sets, while Nadal was forced to fight to the death against German teen sensation Alexander Zverev in a three-set thriller.
Nishikori had to dig deep against John Isner, while Raonic profited from some wasteful Thomas Berdych shots as he also moved to the quarter-finals.
DJOKOVIC SHOWS CLASS
Perhaps for the first time this tournament, Djokovic stole the show with a spell-binding performance against Lopez.
His 6-3 6-3 win took him just over one hour, in which he never gave up as much as a break point opportunity to his Spanish opponent.
Nadal had a much tougher time of it, having to rely on two errors from teen opponent Zverev who fluffed two match point opportunities on the way to his 6-7 (8-10) 6-0 7-5 win.
Nishikori also found himself in a world of trouble after he went a set down but fought back well to eventually win the decider on a tiebreak, triumphing over Isner 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-5).
WAWRINKA PAYS PRICE
Stan Wawrinka headlined the exits as the third seed lost out to David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5).
The 15th seed was gifted a match point opportunity when Wawrinka inexplicably missed an easy net shot at 5-5 during the third set tie-break, handing Goffin the initiative as he went on to win the match on the next point.
He was joined by Thomas Berdych, with the sixth seed on the wrong end of a 6-4 7-6 (9-7) scoreline against 12th seed Raonic.
Berdych handed Raonic the match when he missed an easy net shot of his own while defending a match point during the second set tie-break.
Richard Gasquet was also sent packing, losing to Marin Cilic, while Dominic Thiem exited at the hands of a hugely impressive Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who smashed the Austrian 6-3 6-2.
COSTLY ERRORS DOMINATE DAY
It is not often you see the likes of Wawrinka or Berdych make horrendous mistakes in such crucial moments and it is even less frequent you see both guilty of such mistakes on the same day but that was the case at Indian Wells on Wednesday.
Berdych missed a sitter while defending match point, while Wawrinka handed Goffin a match point during a third set tie-break and they were joined in making costly errors by teenager Zverev who struck the net from close range while chasing match point against Nadal.
The likes of Djokovic and Tsonga made no such mistakes and were clinical in their respective matches, the Serbian number won 79 per cent of points on his first serve, which the Frenchman better with 88 per cent.
ZVEREV RUES MATCH POINT MISS
Zverev rued missing one of the easiest shots of the day at the most costly point, saying: "I missed probably the easiest shot I had the whole match.
"It was a great match. Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. He's known for that."
Nadal, on the other hand, was just happy his miss was not as important.
"First set I had big chance with not a difficult forehand down the line that I missed," Nadal noted. "But after that, I think I played a great second set."
BATTLE OF THE SEEDS
Only seeds remain as the quarter-finals kick off on Thursday.
Milos Raonic will take on Gael Monfils, who progressed courtesy of his straight-set victory over Federico Delbonis, while Marin Cilic will battle David Goffin.