Spain's Feliciano Lopez overcame a rocky start to defeat Mikhail Kukushkin 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and join countrymen Roberto Bautista-Agut and Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

After being routed in the early going of Tuesday's match by his Kazakh opponent, Lopez settled down and began controlling his service games in the second set and then continued to show signs of his best tennis in the decider.

The world No. 37 finished off the contest in just under one hour and 45 minutes with an overhead smash on match point to advance to the fourth round of Indian Wells for the first time.

"I was more aggressive (later on) than in the first set, but honestly I don't know how I managed to win the match," the Spaniard, who staved off all five break points he faced over the final two sets, joked afterward.

Next up for the big-serving lefthander on Wednesday will be Frenchman Julien Benneteau, a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 winner over Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem.

Also Tuesday, Bautista-Agut continued his strong start to the season by defeating Finland's Jarkko Nieminen and Verdasco upset eighth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

But another Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, fell to red-hot Croatian Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3.

Bautista-Agut, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, will next take on talented Latvian Ernests Gulbis in Wednesday's fourth round, while Verdasco will square off against big-serving American John Isner.

In another men's result Tuesday, Serbian world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the tournament following Rafael Nadal's early exit, overcame a second-set hiccup to top Colombia's Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

In women's action, top seed Li Na of China and second-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska both advanced to the quarterfinals with straight-set wins Tuesday over Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak and France's Alize Cornet, respectively.

The BNP Paribas Open is one of the biggest hard-court events on the ATP and WTA calendars. EFE