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Nadal sets up Nalbandian test
World number one eases past Dmitry Tursunov as Dinara Safina closes in on top spot.
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2009 10:11 GMT

Nadal goes for maximum biceps exposure [GALLO/GETTY]
World number one Rafa Nadal continued his smooth progress at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, easing past Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-3 6-3 to reach the fourth round.

The Spaniard, who has won three of the past four grand slam titles, clinched victory in one hour, 17 minutes to set up a clash with 14th seed David Nalbandian.

Champion Novak Djokovic survived a testing second set to beat German Tommy Haas 6-2 7-6, while Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick also advanced.

Safina closer

In the women's event top seed Dinara Safina took a step closer to becoming world number one when she beat American Jill Craybas 7-5 6-4 in the fourth round.

The Russian again struggled for top form but saw Craybas in two tight sets to advance to a quarter-final against eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

Ana Ivanovic scrambled past 12th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-4 4-6 6-4, while Vera Zvonareva and Caroline Wozniacki will meet in another quarter-final.

"It wasn't one of my best matches," Nadal said after beating Tursunov in California on Tuesday.

"He didn't give me a lot of rhythm. He played good shots but at the same time mistakes and I had more mistakes than usual."

Nalbandian lesson

Nadal has lost both his previous matches with Nalbandian and joked that he would only be able to understand how to beat the Argentine once he has done it for the first time.

"I have to be ready, because if he has control of the point, it's going to be almost impossible," said the Spaniard.

Third seed Djokovic cruised through the first set against Haas but had to fight hard in the second before setting up a meeting with either Stanislas Wawrinka or Sam Querrey.

Former world number two Haas, who has slipped to 64th in the rankings, held two break points that would have put him ahead 5-3 in the second set but Djokovic survived and played a superb tie-break, winning it 7-1 to clinch victory.

Wozniacki is set to face Zvonareva [GALLO/GETTY]
"I had some chances to finish the match a little before I did but he stepped it up," Djokovic said.

"It got a bit intense out there - we saw some rackets broken, on his side and mine, and a bit of swearing.

"I hope the people didn't hear that."

Spirit

In the WTA event, Craybas had upset Serbian Jelena Dokic and 16th seed Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain on her way to the fourth round and showed plenty of spirit against Safina.

Safina said she would need to play well to get the better of Belarusian Azarenka, who edged Israeli Shahar Peer 7-5 6-4.

"We played three times last year and I won three times (but) she's playing her best tennis," the top seed said.

"I think she's playing great. I really want to play against her, to show my best. We'll see who's going to end up stronger tomorrow."

Zvonareva continued her smooth progress with a 6-4 6-4 win over China's Li Na.

Ninth seed Wozniacki overcame Urszula Radwanska of Poland 7-5 6-3 to set up the clash with Zvonareva, who has not dropped a set during the tournament.

Fifth seed Ivanovic had to battle past Pennetta and the French Open champion will now play Austrian Sybille Bammer, who crushed Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-2.

Source:
Agencies
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