Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal went about restoring order at the Miami Masters as the world top two led the way into the quarter-finals on Tuesday with straight-set wins. ( dpa )
Federer polished off Argentine Jose Acasuso for the third time in as many meetings, earning a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 fourth-round victory. Nadal advanced over Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-4 to run his record in that one-way series to an impressive 8-0. Federer will face off in the last eight, carrying a 13-match win streak against Andy Roddick.
One day after revealing his engagement to a New York model, the American staged a comeback to advance over Julien Benneteau of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Both Federer and Nadal are in the hunt for their first titles of the season after slow starts to 2008.
Federer's early-season battle with the mononucleosis virus has faded to a memory as the Swiss who has stood atop the rankings for 216 weeks starts to again show his best form.
Victory took 74 minutes with Federer, never facing a break point. After a brief struggle in a first set which went into a tiebreak, the favourite seized control.
True to his word all along, Federer is piecing his game back together just as he always said he would. And the 2005-2006 winner is well-placed to make a run at a third.
"For me it was really a matter of getting back on tour, playing matches, and hopefully playing well," said the steady Swiss.
"I can hardly rate really the Australian Open too much because of what I went through, I can't even tell how my game really was.
"Now I feel like I'm playing well. I'm moving well and playing well and serving well. That's what it comes down to for me.
"All these matches are a grind. If you look back you always probably thought I won every match 6-2, 6-3. It wasn't like that. I had many matches I came through in a close way, and that's what made me the best player for so long, is winning those big points over and over again."
Ninth seed James Blake needed six match points to finally put down Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-4 while Czech tenth seed Tomas Berdych reached the last 16 over Russia Dmitry Tursunov.
Igor Andreev dismissed Guillermo Canas, who beat Federer in Miami a year ago, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Serb Janko Tipsarevic upset 11th seed Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Unsettled women's top seed Justine Henin is fighting to find her usual reservoir of match toughness after a 6-2, 6-0 hammering in the quarter-finals by Serena Williams.
The American who has won seven of the last ten editions in Miami between herself and her sister claimed a rematch of last years final.
Russian third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova prevented an all-Williams meeting with her defeat of sixth seed Venus 6-4, 6-4.
"It was pretty ups and downs for me and for her, but I guess I was more consistent and I played better," said the winner, the 2006 Miami champion
Serena Williams was unstoppable on the day against Henin as she fights to keep her place in the ranking Top Ten. Should she fail to win the title, she would crash from the elite group of the WTA on Monday, falling to between 11th and 13th.
Henin, playing in only her fifth event of the season, had lost 13 games in her first three matches, but dropped a dozen against Williams.
"I was too defensive for sure," said Henin. "Against this kind of player you dont have any chance if you play that game.
"I didn't have really any courage to do something else."
Williams took the match by the throat as she won the last nine games with Henin finishing on another double-fault.
Henin had beaten Williams in their last two high-profile matches, quarter-finals at Wimbledon and Roland Garros last season.