INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - World number four Andy Murray reached the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open with a landmark win over Adrian Mannarino on Wednesday, while Spain’s Feliciano Lopez upset fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori.
Murray’s 6-3 6-3 victory over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino put him level with Tim Henman as Britain’s most successful men’s player in the Open era on 496 singles victories.
“I thought I played well. It was a tricky match,” said Murray, who added that his 38th-ranked opponent’s low crosscourt backhand and short, flat forehand can be deceptive. “I thought I did a good job against a tough opponent.”
Next up for Murray will be 33-year-old Lopez, who has reached his top ranking of 12th in the world.
Although Murray has never lost to the Lopez in nine meetings dating back to 2006, the Scotsman said he would not suffer from overconfidence.
“He’s been playing the best tennis of his career these last 18 months or so,” said Murray. “And obviously had a great win today against Nishikori.”
Lopez belted 12 aces in a 6-4 7-6 (2) win over Nishikori, whose ouster derailed an anticipated clash in the quarters against Murray.
Japan’s Nishikori, runner-up at last year’s U.S. Open, failed to take advantage of opportunities, squandering six of seven break points, and blamed his loss on a poor game that cost him the opening set.
“I think I really had one bad game at 5-4,” said Nishikori, who had never before reached the fourth round at Indian Wells.
“Until then, I was playing better. He was hitting good serves, but I had all the chances. Just one bad game at 5-4. I think that’s all that matters in today’s match.”
Down a set and 4-1 in the second, Nishikori flashed some of his trademark resilience battling back to level the set at 4-4.
But Lopez, a finalist in Quito, would not falter and recovered to force a tiebreak before ending Nishikori’s run of reaching the quarter-finals or better in the four tournaments he had contested this year.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue