Indian Wells - Fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori eased past Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to reach the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.
Japan's Nishikori, a quarter-finalist in the California desert last year, has reached two finals in 2017, but he knows he'll have his work cut out to reach a third playing talent-laden lower half of the draw here.
"This is a Masters, a tough tournament, everybody's playing. I have to be focused," said Nishikori, who next faces either 28th-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg or Czech Jiri Vesely.
In a remarkable twist to the draw, second-seeded Novak Djokovic, fifth seed Rafael Nadal and number nine Roger Federer are all drawn in the same bottom quarter.
The trio, who own 44 Grand Slam singles titles among them, all open their accounts on Sunday with second-round matches.
Djokovic, rocked by a second-round exit at the Australian Open where Federer beat Nadal in the final for an 18th Grand Slam crown, is the three-time defending champion at Indian Wells, where he has won five titles overall.
Federer has won four times here and Nadal three, but only one of the star trio can make it to the semi-finals, where Nishikori or sixth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic could be waiting.
The jam-packed section is a contrast to the top of the draw, which opened up even more on Saturday night when world number one Andy Murray was stunned by 129th-ranked qualifier Vasek Pospisil in straight sets.
Results on Sunday in the BNP Paribas Open ATP Masters/WTA
tournament in Indian Wells, California (x denotes seeded player):
Taylor Fritz (USA) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x6) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Malek Jaziri (TUN) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP x32) 7-5, 6-3
Jack Sock (USA x17) bt Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-3, 0-6, 6-4
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x12) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 6-4, 6-0
Lucas Pouille (FRA x14) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3, 6-2
Donald Young (USA) bt Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Gilles Muller (LUX x25) bt Jirí Veselý (CZE) 7-6 (7/1), 6-1
Kei Nishikori (JPN x4) bt Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x5) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 6-3, 6-2
Fernando Verdasco (ESP x26) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1
Steve Johnson (USA x24) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-4, 3-6,
Roger Federer (SUI) bt Stéphane Robert (FRA) 6-2, 6-1
Nick Kyrgios (AUS x15) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-3, 6-4
Alexander Zverev (GER x18) bt Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 7-6 (12/10), 6-3
Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG x31) bt Federico Del Bonis (ARG) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Karolína Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Irina Camelia Begu (ROM x29) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)
Timea Bacsinszky (SUI x15) bt Kiki Bertens (NED x18) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (10/8)
Elina Svitolina (UKR x10) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS x24) 6-2, 6-1
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x7) bt Kayla Day (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x5) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x19) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x17)
Caroline Garcia (FRA x21) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x11) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1)
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x8) bt Roberta Vinci (ITA x26) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1