INDIAN, WELLS CALIFORNIA – Novak Djokovic rallied to beat Marin Cilic 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, avoiding the upsets that knocked out two other top-10 players.
Djokovic didn’t face a break point on his serve after the first set in the baseline slugfest that ended after midnight. He advanced to the quarterfinals against Julien Benneteau, a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) winner over Feliciano Lopez.
“It was very tough. Marin was a far better player in the first 45 minutes. He was striking the ball incredibly well,” said Djokovic, who improved to 8-0 against Cilic. “I tried to stay calm and composed and believe that I could come back.”
Kevin Anderson upset Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-1, and sixth-ranked Andy Murray joined Wawrinka on the sidelines, losing to big-serving Milos Raonic, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Anderson ended Wawrinka’s 13-match winning streak that included his first Grand Slam title in January. Wawrinka didn’t face a break point in his first two matches, but he got broken in his first service game against the 203-cm Anderson, who had 11 aces and connected on 64 percent of his first serves.
“I was complaining a lot about my serve, about the way I was playing, and with that, I don’t deserve to win matches,” Wawrinka said. “I should have been more positive with myself, just trying to find a solution because it was still a close match.”
After losing the first set tiebreaker, Wawrinka left the court for nearly eight minutes to have his back worked on. He returned and broke Anderson twice in taking the second set to even the match.
“It’s just tightness,” he said, insisting he wasn’t injured. “I was a little bit nervous and tight and tired.”
Anderson earned all four breaks in the third in completing his 150th career match win on the ATP Tour.
“Game plan is just to get as many first serves back as possible just to give myself the best look in his serve games throughout the match,” he said.
Anderson advanced to the quarterfinals against four-time tournament champion Roger Federer, who beat 11th-seeded Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4.
Against Murray, Raonic earned his first win over a top-10 player since September. He fired 15 aces and held triple match point when he ripped a crosscourt forehand to close out the win after breaking Murray three times in the final set.
“The third set was just a bad, bad set of tennis,” said Murray, who broke Raonic to lead 2-1 before losing five of the final six games.
Murray, ranked sixth in the world, struggled in all three of his matches at Indian Wells. He rallied from a set down to beat Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely, but couldn’t overcome Raonic’s power.
“He obviously wins a lot of free points with his serve,” Murray said. “So over the course of the set, if you give up enough unforced errors on basic shots, then with the amount of free points he gets on his serve, that’s going to add up to a negative result.”
Raonic blew his first match point when he returned Murray’s serve long. Murray held to trail 5-3, but Raonic held at love to close out the match. He hit 42 winners to 22 for Murray.
“I just tried to impose myself and tried to take care and control of the center of the court as much as I could,” Raonic said. “With somebody like him that can find his way out of so many difficult situations and points, it’s important to sort of take that time away.”
Playing his first tournament since injuring his left ankle at the Australian Open in January, Raonic hadn’t beaten someone in the top 10 since defeating then-No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the Bangkok final last fall.
“I focused a lot more this event on my attitude and approach during the matches rather than what I’m necessarily playing and just sort of being very hard on myself on that aspect,” Raonic said.
Raonic, a 23-year-old Canadian ranked 11th in the world, advanced to the quarterfinals against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, who beat Fabio Fognini of Italy, 6-2, 6-4.
Ernests Gulbis beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals. He’ll play John Isner. The lone remaining American man, Isner beat Fernando Verdasco, 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-3.
On the women’s side, sixth-seeded Simona Halep defeated Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 6-2 to earn a berth in the semifinals. Halep will play second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat No. 7 seed Jelena Jankovic, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.