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Stan Wawrinka advances at BNP Paribas Open after a close call

Stan Wawrinka advances at BNP Paribas Open after a close call
Stan Wawrinka reacts to his play during his win over Yoshihito Nishioka in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday night. (Harry How / Getty Images)

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland was fortunate to avoid being swept out along with the tide of top-seeded men who have been dismissed early from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

No. 3 seed Wawrinka fended off two match points Wednesday to prevail over lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), and move onto the quarterfinals.

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"I wasn't playing great. I was not moving well at the beginning. I was a little bit hesitating with my game," Wawrinka said. "I think in general in the third set I played better than the two first sets....You have to be a little bit lucky when he served twice for the match."

His next opponent will be No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria, who defeated No. 10 Gael Monfils of France, 6-3, 6-2, in the day's final match.

With No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic having lost Wednesday, Wawrinka and No. 4 Kei Nishikori of Japan are the only men left from the top seven seeds. Nishikori defeated Donald Young, 6-2, 6-4, on Wednesday, coming back after the American had taken leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set.

"From 4-1 I think I started playing much better, stepping in a little more and playing aggressive," Nishikori said. "I think it's a little bit unusual to win five games in a row, but in the first set I was playing great tennis. And I'm very happy the way I'm playing right now."

Nishikori will face another American, Jack Sock, who defeated Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5. Sock is the highest-ranked American men's player in the world at No. 18, a fact he said he learned through Twitter.

"There's a nice confidence boost from having that. But also, on the flip side of that, for American tennis in general, hopefully it's not at 18 where I am now," he said. "Hopefully it's kind of like it was back in the day, top 10, top five, and hopefully No. 1 again one day that American tennis can be there.

"I think there is a good group and cluster of us guys coming up and making a push, and hopefully there will be a lot of battles for that top ranking and higher ranking over the next few years."

The other men's quarterfinals, from the top of the draw, will match No. 21 seed Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain against Paolo Cuevas of Uruguay. Carreño Busta defeated Dusan Lajovic, 6-4, 7-6 (5), and Cuevas upset No. 11 seed David Goffin, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Women's matches

The seedings held up in women's quarterfinal matches on Wednesday. No. 3 Karolina Pliskova defeated No. 7 Garbine Muguruza, 7-6(2), 7-6(5), to advance to the semifinals. She will face No. 8 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, who got past fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3, 6-2, on Wednesday.

Kuznetsova, 31, is a two-time Grand Slam singles champion. She seems to be defying age by playing some of her best tennis deep into her career, a resurgence she attributed to a healthier perspective.

"I think I'm enjoying the most now, because the thing is, when you're so young and you get to the top of the game, you don't value it so much," she said. "When you play a couple years — I was a couple years, what, 20, 25 in the rankings? And then you make it to top 10, you value so much more the effort and what you've done, what you achieved. You know, you have been there before and you got here."

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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