INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic reached the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday when he beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (4), 6-1 for his 20th consecutive victory.
Defending women’s champion Victoria Azarenka extended her own streak despite a nagging ankle problem, routing Urszula Radwanska 6-3, 6-1 for her 17th straight win.
No. 3 seed Andy Murray and No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki played night matches.
Djokovic trailed 5-3 in the first set when the 21-year-old Bulgarian committed six double faults, including four in one game, to help the Serb force the tiebreaker. Djokovic won it on a backhand error by the youngest player remaining in the draw.
“It was not really a beautiful match to watch,” Djokovic said. “There were a lot of unforced errors, and we both look quite sluggish on the court.”
Dimitrov was broken twice in the second set while falling to 1-17 against top-10 opponents.
“He did all the work making winners and making unforced errors,” Djokovic said. “I just needed to hang in there and try to be patient.”
Djokovic moves on to play Sam Querrey, a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (7), 7-5 winner over Marinko Matosevic.
Djokovic hasn’t lost since Oct. 31, when Querrey beat him at the indoors Paris Masters.
“He does everything really well: unbelievable forehand, unbelievable backhand, moves around the court great, returns great. It’s tough to pick on something,” Querrey said. “I might have to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit and do things I don’t like to do, and hopefully it will pay off for me.”
Querrey is poised to take over as the top-ranked American in the men’s game — albeit not in the top 10 — from Mardy Fish, who lost 7-6 (4), 7-6 (0) to No. 8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Maria Sharapova joined Azarenka in the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain, someone she had never played before.
Sharapova trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the first set before rallying on a cloudless day in the desert when temperature reached the lower 90s.
“Just didn’t get a good rhythm on her game from the beginning,” she said. “Maybe I was going for the lines a little bit more than I had to, especially in the first few games when you don’t know too much about your opponent or haven’t played her.