For the second time in the event defending champion Novak Djokovic needed the distance to prevail, this round overcoming a set down and 4-2 to deny Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-0.
“I fought my way through,” said Djokovic who won 11 of the last 12 games. “I was frustrated. I was losing my composure in the first set, because I didn’t feel good. So I was just trying to find a way to come back in the match.
“I don’t feel that I’m very fresh on the court, even though I’m trying. Again, I’m in the quarter-finals of this tournament. This day off tomorrow will definitely serve me and help me to recover mentally, because physically I’m fine. I feel okay. Hopefully I can perform better in the next one.”
The 4-time champ Djokovic will now face David Ferrer Thursday in the quarterfinals. Ferrer beat up on Gilles Simon in straight sets.
Two-time Miami winner Andy Murray collected his 500th career win with a tough 3-set win over Kevin Anderson 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Murray becomes the 46th player to reach the 500 mark on the ATP.
“There has not been loads of players that have done it, so it’s nice for me. The fact that it happened here as well,” said Murray, the Miami Open’s 2009 and 2013 men’s champ and a resident of Miami. “It’s just fitting because I have spent so much time training here and working to get better.
“But I hope for me this isn’t the end and I can keep trying to progress,” Murray added of his achievement. “You know, with each win, you get closer and closer to going past a great player. The people that are ahead of me have all done pretty amazing things in the sport, so that’s what’s nice about it. And it feels like it gives me motivation as well.”
“I don’t know why, but getting to 500 gives me motivation to go on and try and win more. When you look at the list of players and the wins that certain guys have got, it gives you something to aim at.”
Murray will face Dominic Thiem Wednesday afternoon in the quarters. The 21-year-old advanced to his first Masters QF with a 3-set win over Adrian Mannarino.
Tomas Berdych beat Gael Monfils at the start of the day. The former finalist will meet a former semifinalist in Juan Monaco Wednesday night. Monaco knocked out Nadal-killer Fernando Verdasco.
In the other Thursday quarter, Kei Nishikori, a winner over David Goffin, will look to reach his second straight Miami SF against John Isner who outlasted Milos Raonic in a final set breaker 6-7(3), 7-6(6), 7-6(5).
In the women’s quarterfinals, former champion and tournament favorite Venus Williams was stunned Tuesday night by Carla Suarez-Navarro 0-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“I feel like I have the ability to win a match like this, but unfortunately it was a loss,” Venus said. “Just a little too many errors. I was going for it the whole match, but towards the end I never found the happy medium between being aggressive and putting the ball in the court.
“But I learn a lot from my losses – they always make me better.”
The Spaniard will face Andrea Petkovic in the Thursday semifinals. Petkovic cruised past the hot-handed Karolina Pliskova.
On Wednesday, 7-time winner Serena Williams returns against Sabine Lisicki and in the evening red-hot Simoma Halep tries to up her win streak to 14 against American Sloane Stephens.
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