Novak Djokovic recovered from a slow start to overcome Spaniard David Ferrer to reach the Miami Open semi-finals.
Serbia’s world No 1 Djokovic triumphed 7-5 7-5 to set up a meeting with big-serving American John Isner, who overpowered Japan’s world No 5 Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-3.
Djokovic, the defending champion and winner of the Indian Wells title less than a fortnight ago, came from two breaks down in the first set as Ferrer made a quick start on his 33rd birthday.
But Djokovic recovered to take the first set – and served for victory leading 5-4 in the second.
Ferrer was having no part of it though. He broke Djokovic, but was broken himself a game later to let Djokovic again serve for the match.
Djokovic now has eight-straight wins over Ferrer, winner of three titles already this season.
“David is one of the toughest opponents. I knew the match would be physical,” said Djokovic. “He gives you nothing and makes you work for every point.
“My strategy was to try and dominate from the baseline, but stay alert for chances to come to the net. That is something I’ve been working on.
“It was a tough match, but one that I enjoyed. The next round will be totally different against Isner, who has one of the best serves in the game.”