five break points. Verdasco, who won eight straight points for a 32 lead in the second set, had seven double faults.
Nadal called it unlucky that he and Federer were to play before the quarter-finals. The Spaniard leads the rivalry 23-12, including a 9-8 edge on hardcourts.
“It doesn’t matter if everybody is playing well because from our part of the draw, only one of us is going to be in that semi-finals,” Nadal said. “So that’s tough, but that’s not happening every week. Only thing we can do to avoid that is be in higher position of the ranking.”
French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain planned to watch the latest chapter in the Federer-Nadal rivalry.
“I think everybody is going to watch that match,” she said. “Everybody likes Rafa. Everybody likes Roger. It’s history over there.”
Venus Williams advanced to the quarter-finals 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.
“It was so frustrating,” Venus said. “But I feel like I got my focus more in that second set and towards the end of the third because I’m just a competitor. If things get closer, then I think my better tennis is going to come.”
Venus 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; Garbine defeated No 10 Elina Svitolina 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-0; No 19 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova outlasted No 5 Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and No 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova beat 21stseeded 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 14thseeded Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; No 15 Nick Kyrgios beat No 18 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-4; and Malek Jaziri got by American wildcard Taylor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 63. AP
Roger Federer in action against Steve Johnson in Indian Wells on Tuesday.