Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych moved into the quarter-finals where he will face world number one Novak Djokovic at the ATP and WTA Miami Open on Tuesday while Simona Halep joined the exodus of top women’s talent.
Berdych fired 12 aces in defeating 10th seed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to square his career record against the Frenchman at 7-7.
“I’m happy with the way I played,” Berdych said. “It was a tough match. Richard played really well. I came through in the end and took my chances and won.”
Two-time defending champion Djokovic, a five-time Miami winner overall, beat Austrian 14th seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 to book the last-eight date against Berdych.
Romanian fifth seed Halep was ousted 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 by 19th-ranked Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, who advanced to a semi-final against the winner of a later match between Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova.
“To beat someone who fights as hard as she does, it’s something amazing,” Bacsinszky said. “I’m happy with it.”
Bacsinszky’s “lucky charm” and friend, Swiss women’s overall Alpine ski champion Lara Gut, was in the crowd.
Only one of the 12 top women’s seeds remains, German number two Angelique Kerber, who beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open final for her first Grand Slam title. She plays American Madison Keys on Wednesday for a semi-final spot.
Halep, the 2014 French Open runner-up, also crashed out in the Australian Open first round.
Djokovic, also a champion at Indian Wells and Doha this year, has won his past 13 Miami matches and 27 of his past 28. The 28-year-old Serbian won his 11th Grand Slam title two months ago at the Australian Open.
Berdych has won only two of 24 meetings with Djokovic, having lost the past nine matches since a 2013 Rome quarter-final victory.
Only four of the top 10 men’s seeds reached Miami’s last 16, matching an event record low, with three of them in the same quarter of the draw.
The fourth is Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori, who plays Spanish 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in a night match.
Australian 24th seed Nick Kyrgios, the youngest top-30 ATP player at age 20, reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory over Russia’s 51st-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov.
Kyrgios, off to a career-best 13-3 start that includes his first ATP title last month at Marseille, next plays the winner of a later match between Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic and Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.
The Aussie never trailed in the tie-breaker and took the only break of the second set when Kuznetsov double faulted away the fourth game.
Despite the defeat, Kuznetsov is assured of cracking the top 50 for the first time in his career and becoming Russian number one.
Belgian 15th seed David Goffin reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Argentina’s 112th-ranked Horacio Zeballos, a qualifying lucky loser who made the field only after Roger Federer withdrew due to illness.
Goffin, who reached the Indian Wells semi-finals before losing to Raonic, will next face French 18th seed Gilles Simon, who routed 88th-ranked compatriot Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-1 in 57 minutes.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport