Roger Federer came from a set down to beat Radu Albot and reach the Miami Open third round but Dan Evans and Alexander Zverev were among the Saturday exits.
The Swiss great, a three time champion of the event, including 2017 when he beat Rafael Nadal, need more that two hours to see off world No 45 Albot with a 4-6 7-5 6-3 victory that set up a date with Filip Krajinovic in the third round.
The 37-year-old, beaten by Dominic Thiem in last week’s Paribas Open final at Indian Wells, smashed 14 aces and broke Albot twice to advance but it was far from plain sailing for the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“I expected a player with a great attitude, which he showed,” said Federer.
“I have a lot of respect for those types of players who don’t have the size, have to find a different way to win. He’s a great, great player. I was impressed.
Federer was stunned by Thanasi Kokkinakis in his opening match of the Miami Open last year and another early exit was beckoning when he dropped the first set on Saturday.
However, he battled back to break Albot while leading 6-5 in the second with a backhand volley winner to square the match. Albot could not convert a break point in the deciding set when tied a 3-3, and Federer took command from there to wrap up a match that included 41 unforced errors from the legendary Swiss.
British hopes now rest with Kyle Edmund after Evans suffered a 4-6 6-1 6-3 defeat to 20th seed Denis Shapovalov.
Evans dropped just two games in a first-round win over Malek Jaziri having earned a place in a draw as a lucky loser and took the first set as the Canadian teenager struggled to find his range.
However, Shapovalov upped the ante in the second set, where Evans needed treatment on an ankle injury, before taking the decider and the match when double-faulted at match point down.
Evans run is projected to take him up to 89th in the world rankings and he continues a strong start to the year, while British No 1 Edmund faces Milos Raonic on Sunday for a place in the last 16.
There was another disappointing defeat for world No 3 Zverev who was beaten in three sets but 36-year-old David Ferrer who is set to retire at the Madrid Open in May.
Zverev was beaten in the third round of Indian Wells last year, and continued a disappointing Grand Slam record with a fourth-round defeat in the year’s opening major in Australia, and he suffered an early exit as the hands of an inspired Ferrer.
The Spaniard, a wild card into the event at Hard Rock Stadium, recorded a stunning 2-6 7-5 6-3 win that sets up a meeting with Frances Tiafoe in the third round.
“It’s a special day because it’s the last year of professional tennis for me. Winning these type of matches against a top 10 player like ‘Sascha’ is a gift,” Ferrer told the crowd.
“I’m very happy and I’m trying to enjoy every point and every moment.”
World No 7 Kevin Anderson is also through, starting his first tournament back after a two-month lay-off with an elbow injury with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over rising Spaniard Jaume Munar.
Eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (7/4) 6-1 while 10th seed Karen Khachanov was beaten by Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 while fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev, the 13th seed, knocked out France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-1.