Rafael Nadal defeated qualifier Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.
Rafa remains on track for a potential semifinal against five-time champion Roger Federer in the bottom half of the draw. The top half was rocked by the upsets of top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev.
“The difference between players is not huge. It’s small gaps,” Rafa said about the upsets. “Is true that for the last 10 years didn’t happen very often.”
Krajinovic hadn’t dropped a set in winning his first three main-draw matches after two wins in qualifying to get into the $8.3 million event. But he couldn’t overcome Rafa, who lost his serve just once in the 1 1/2-hour match in sunny and windy conditions.
“Probably played a little bit worse today than yesterday,” Rafa said. “Maybe because of the conditions.”
Next up for Rafa is the winner of a fourth-round match between John Isner and Karen Khachanov.