World number two Roger Federer has advanced to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Tennis Open after beating Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
Champion at the Indian Wells tournament for the past three years, Federer won Thursday's match 6-3, 7-6 (5) and next faces Britain's Andy Murray on Saturday.
Federer had a temporary lull in the second set, allowing number ten seed Verdasco to break his service and take a 6-5 lead. But he was back on top in the next game and built a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker before delivering a winning serve.
"It was difficult," Federer said later. "I wasn't quite happy with the match, but for a while there, I actually was playing OK. I struggled with my rhythm on the backhand."
Federer has lost five of his seven career matches against Murray, including the last three encounters.
Number four seed Murray has won two tournaments already this year, at Doha and Rotterdam, and defeated Ivan Ljubicic 7-5, 7-6 (6) in his quarterfinal match.