With a number of top names either beaten or not playing the Miami Masters 1000, the field is wide open as not one of the ‘Big Four’ feature in the fourth round, which is a landmark in itself.
With Roger Federer out, the second seeded Marin Cilic must fancy his chances but he was tested fully by Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, ranked 77, who held him on court for nearly two hours before capitulating 7-5 7-6(4) as the third seeded Grigor Dimitrov fell to Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-4.
It was a relief at the end! Marin Cilic
However, he will find Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the fifth seed, a handful should they meet as scheduled, in the semi-finals as DelPo won his 13th consecutive match when he dispatched Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-2.
Pospisil staved off three match-points before eventually conceding what had been a very tight match for the Croatian former US Open champion.
“It was a relief at the end,” Cilic commented later. “I had those three match points at 6-5 and there was that great rally [33 shots] at deuce. I was playing really well in the tie-break, returning really well and serving really good.
“I saved the best for last and I’m really pleased with the victory.”
Meanwhile Del Potro hammered 17 winners, as he dominated over 72-minutes, his Japanese opponent who had just one opportunity to break the big Argentine’s serve late in the match.
“I think I’m playing good,” Del Potro, who also won in Acapulco, said. “I can play even better, but I need to get confidence playing on this court, trying to keep winning matches. But it is not easy. My body is starting to feel tight because of all my success.”
The fifth seeded Argentine will face Filip Krajinovic in the fourth round after the Serbian defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3 6-3.
In other matches, South Korean Chung Hyeon, the 19th seed, needed just 62 minutes to dispatch American qualifier Michael Mmoh 6-1 6-1 and will take on Joao Sousa in the last 16 after the Portuguese outlasted American Jared Donaldson 1-6 6-3 6-4.
Elsewhere, big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic pounded 10 aces to take down Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 7-6(5) 6-3 while John Isner dispatched Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-3.