INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Rafael Nadal defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday for his 50th career victory at the desert tournament.
Nadal closed out the 1 1/2-hour match in 95-degree (35 C) heat with a forehand winner. The three-time tournament champion will next face Roger Federer in the Round of 16 after Federer dispatched American Steve Johnson in straight sets.
Nadal won 80 percent of his first-serve points and three of five break points. Verdasco, who won eight straight points for a 3-2 lead in the second set, had seven double faults.
Venus Williams advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001 with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Shuai Peng, the last remaining qualifier in the draw. She had 40 winners, 40 unforced errors and won the final four games of the match after trailing 3-2.
Williams ended her 15-year boycott of the event last year, when she lost in the second round.
In other women’s matches, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova advanced when 15th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky retired trailing 5-1 in the first set; No. 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova outlasted No. 5 Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova beat 21st-seeded Caroline Garcia.
On the men’s side, No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori routed 25th-seeded Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-2; American Donald Young defeated 14th-seeded Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; and Malek Jaziri got by American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.