Nadal remains on track for a potential semifinal against five-time champion Roger Federer in the bottom half of the draw. The top half was rocked by the upsets of top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev.
“The difference between players is not huge. It’s small gaps,” Nadal said about the upsets. “Is true that for the last 10 years didn’t happen very often.”
Krajinovic hadn’t dropped a set in winning his first three main-draw matches after two wins in qualifying to get into the $8.3 million event. But he couldn’t overcome Nadal, who lost his serve just once in the 1½-hour match in sunny and windy conditions.
“Probably played a little bit worse today than yesterday,” Nadal said. “Maybe because of the conditions.”
The upsets weren’t limited to the men’s draw. Naomi Osaka, the world’s top-ranked woman, also lost in straight sets a day earlier.
Miomir Kecmanovic, a 19-year-old Serb ranked 130th in the world, advanced when Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan retired after losing the first set 6-4. Nishioka sought treatment on the court before calling it quits.
Kecmanovic became the first lucky loser to reach the quarterfinals since the tournament achieved Masters 1000 status in 1990. The 27-year-old Serb got into the main draw when Kevin Anderson withdrew before his opening match with an elbow injury.
“It will be funny that somebody other than Novak is still in,” Kecmanovic said of his famous countryman.
Kecmanovic got another dose of luck when he received a wild card for next week’s tournament in Miami.
“I’m going to get a ticket because this is just nice,” he said, joking about buying a lottery ticket.