Miami - World No 5 David Ferrer beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-1, 7-5 on Sunday to book a fourth-round clash with Japan's Kei Nishikori at the ATP Miami Masters.
Ferrer, seeded third, was playing his first match of the tournament after advancing to the third round on a walkover when his scheduled opponent Dmitry Tursunov of Russia withdrew.
The 30-year-old Spaniard will battle for a quarter-final berth against 13th-seeded Nishikori, a 6-2, 7-5 winner over Belgian Xavier Malisse.
The two have split their four prior encounters 2-2. Ferrer triumphed in their last meeting, notching a straight-sets victory over the Japanese in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
"It's going to be a very difficult match," Ferrer said. "The last time I played him at the Australian Open I beat him in three sets, but I will have to run a lot. We will play a lot of rallies on the baseline. Nishikori, he has unbelievable shots. He plays with a lot of power."
Ferrer broke Fognini four times en route to the victory in 79 minutes. It was his third win over the Italian this season and his sixth in six career meetings.
Ferrer is vying for his third title of the season, after successfully defending titles in Auckland and Buenos Aires.
But he had a disappointing outing at the Indian Wells Masters earlier this month, falling in his second-round opener.
Results on Sunday from the sixth day of the $8.5 million WTA and ATP Masters Miami hardcourt tournament (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Somdev Devvarman (IND) 6-2, 6-4
Tommy Haas (GER x15) bt Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR x19) 6-3, 6-2
Gilles Simon (FRA x11) bt Grega Zemlja (SLO) 6-4, 6-4
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x7) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x26) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0
David Ferrer (ESP x3) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x32) 6-1, 7-5
Kei Nishikori (JPN x13) bt Xavier Malisse (BEL) 6-2, 7-5
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) bt Tobias Kamke (GER) 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-4
Albert Ramos (ESP) bt James Blake (USA) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
Jelena Jankovic (SRB x22) bt Nadia Petrova (RUS x11) 7-6 (9/7), 6-4
Alize Cornet (FRA x32) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Klara Zakopalova (CZE x21) bt Maria Kirilenko (RUS x14) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)
Sorana Cirstea (ROM x28) bt Angelique Kerber (GER x6) 6-4, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS x29) 6-4, 6-2
Roberta Vinci (ITA x15) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x20) 5-7 6-4, 6-4
Sara Errani (ITA x8) bt Simona Halep (ROU) 6-1, 6-0
Ana Ivanovic (SRB x12) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3, 6-3