Indian Wells - Three-time champion Rafael Nadal avoided another early exit from Indian Wells with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Donald Young to reach the round of 16 on Tuesday.
Nadal will square off against France's Gilles Simon for a berth in the quarter-finals of the ATP and WTA event.
Last year, Nadal was eliminated in the third round by Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-6, 6-4, which was his earliest exit in the California desert tournament since 2004.
"Last year was 2014 and we are in 2015. Every year is different," Nadal said. "I played a lot of good tournaments here with good results.
"I feel very comfortable. I happy to be in the fourth round."
Nadal hit just one ace and made three double faults but he broke Young six times in the 80-minute match on centre court.
He plans to clean up his serve in the next round against Simon.
"It's true that I had few mistakes with my serve," he said. "But then with a positive attitude in the next game, I was able to have breaks.
"I did what I had to do to get through, winning in straight sets. I need to serve a little bit better tomorrow(Thursday)."
Nadal is making his 11th appearance in the event, having lifted the trophy in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
World number one Serena Williams woke up after a slow start to battle past American compatriot Sloane Stephens in three sets to reach the quarter-finals.
The 19-time Grand Slam winner defeated a dogged Stephens 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2 as her emotional return from a 14-year Indian Wells boycott gathers pace.
Williams, 33, said it was good to play a two-hour match because she needs to improve her game if she is going to advance deeper into the draw.
"I still am trying to find my bearings," she said. "I have been off a little this week.
"I just had to stay focused and use the experience of a three-set match."
Williams, who blasted 14 aces and broke Stephens six times in the two-hour, six-minute match, faces either Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland next.
The two former Fed Cup teammates have a colorful history after Stephens, 21, upset Williams in the quarter-finals of the 2013 Australian Open in three sets.
That win ended Williams' 20-match winning streak and the two haven't been best buddies since then.
Stephens gave an interview to a US magazine a couple months later saying Williams stopped talking to her after that and Stephens now describes their relationship as just "colleagues."
Williams got her revenge later in 2013 at the US Open when she beat Stephens 6-4, 6-1 in the round of 16 and Tuesday's contest was their first since.
Stephens' best moments came in the first set, but after that Williams was able to take charge.
Williams is competing for the first time in Indian Wells since her self-imposed exile began after she won the 2001 final over Kim Clijsters. Williams says she is trying to forget the events of that year, when the 19-year-old was booed.
Fans accused her of rigging matches against her sister Venus and Williams countered by saying that some resorted to hurling racial slurs at her and her family members.
In other matches Tuesday, third seed Simona Halep, of Romania, defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-4.
On the men's side, Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic hammered Dolgopolov
7-6 (7/2), 6-4, Czech Tomas Berdych rolled over American Steve Johnson
6-4, 6-2 and Simon took care of Michael Berrer of Germany, 6-2, 7-5.Results at the ATP and WTA BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Tuesday:
Carla Suarez (ESP x12) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-1
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2
Simona Halep (ROM x3) bt Karolina Plskova (CZE x14) 6-4, 6-4
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI x27) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x23) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Flavia Pennetta (ITA x15) bt Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x6) 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4
Sabine Lisicki (GER x24) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x25) 6-4, 6-4
Tomas Berdych (CZE x9) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4, 6-2
Lukas Rosol (CZE x27) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3)
Gilles Simon (FRA x13) bt Michael Berrer (GER) 6-2, 7-5
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-4, 6-2
Jack Sock (USA) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x15) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Roger Federer (SUI) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-3, 6-4
Tommy Robredo (ESP x17) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x11) 6-4, 1-6, 7-5
Milos Raonic (CAN x6) bt Oleksandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4