INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Andy Murray outlasted Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 on Monday in his second straight three-set match at the BNP Paribas Open.
The fifth-seeded Scotsman had his hands full playing for the first time against Vesely, who at age 20 is the youngest member of the top 100 of the ATP Tour rankings and was competing in his first Masters 1000 event.
Four-time tourney champion Roger Federer defeated 27th-seeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 7-6 (7), 7-6 (2) with an ace on match point.
Murray had 47 of the 99 unforced errors during the nearly three-hour match in the 80-plus-degree heat of the Southern California desert. The third set featured six service breaks, with Murray taking the last two.
“It was that sort of match where at no stage did either of us play well at the same time,” Murray said. “There wasn’t one period where I thought the level of tennis from both of us was high at the same time. That can create a lot of breaks and a lot of sort of back and forth swings in the match.”
Vesely staved off two match points with a pair of winners. But the Czech double-faulted to set up Murray’s third match point and he netted a forehand volley to end his upset bid.
“Until 4-2 in both sets, second and third, I was playing good without any mistakes,” Vesely said. “But then I always got a little bit tight. That was maybe the one thing that was painful then in the end.”
Federer has regained some of the momentum that eluded him last year, when he won just one title. Last week, he won the tournament in Dubai with victories against Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. At the Australian Open, the former world No. 1 earned wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Murray before losing to Rafael Nadal.
“I feel different this year,” Federer said. “Now I feel like I’m in a good place. Zen on the court. Even if I won 6 and 6 today, I just feel like I was calm. Those are the moments where you feel there is confidence around somewhere.”
In the women’s third round, top-seeded Li Na defeated Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4.
Li closed out the match with an ace, one of her 15 winners in a match in which the Chinese star had 28 unforced errors. The Australian Open champion has never been past the semifinals in six previous appearances at Indian Wells.
Li is playing as the No. 1 seed in a major tournament for the first time.
“It is different,” she said. “Now is high attention; everyone is focused. It’s very tough to hang in there, especially at the beginning of the tournament.”
Trailing 4-3 in the second set, Li rallied to win the final three games and dispatch Pliskova, who at 21 is 10 years younger than Li and was making her main draw debut after losing in qualifying the last two years.
Li needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat countrywoman Zheng Jie in her first match after an opening-round bye.
Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada defeated 21st-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-0 to set up a fourth-round match against Li.
No. 16 seed Sam Stosur of Australia lost to 20th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.