28 March, 2012
MIAMI: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal stayed on pace for a possible final showdown while Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki booked a semi-final match with Tuesday triumphs at the Miami ATP and WTA event.
Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic, winner of the past three Grand Slam singles crowns, reached the quarter-finals of the $9.6 million hardcourt tournament with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over French 17th seed Richard Gasquet.
The Serbian top seed will next face the winner of a later match between Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer and Argentina's 11th seed Juan Martin Del Potro.
World No. 2 Nadal, a three-time Miami runner-up who has never lifted the trophy, ousted Japanese 16th seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4. Up next is French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who ousted German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-2.
The Spaniard fired eight aces and won 65 percent of first-serve points while saving six of the eight break points he faced to advance in two hours and 11 minutes, improving to 16-3 on the season.
On the women's side, second seed Sharapova advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Chinese eighth seed Li Na, the Russian beauty snapping a four-match losing streak to the Asian star.
Danish fourth seed Wozniacki ended the comeback run of US 10th seed Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4. The American had been sidelined from WTA events since the Australian Open due to an ankle injury.
The frustration had Williams wanting to smash a racquet but she thought better of it, saying, "I thought about it, but I'm trying to be better now."
Sharapova, like Nadal a three-time Miami runner-up who has never won the crown, has a 3-2 record against Wozniacki.
Sharapova's match began with five consecutive service breaks, but she found her form at 4-3, winning the last eight games of the match and 12 points in a row in one stretch to move on after 68 minutes.
British fourth seed Andy Murray ousted French 13th seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4. The Scotsman booked a last-eight date against Serbian ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic, who defeated Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
US eighth seed Mardy Fish outlasted Spanish 12th seed Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3. Next for Fish will be Argentina's Juan Monaco, who eliminated American Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-0.