Spain's David Ferrer, the top-ranked player left in a star-depleted Paris Masters field, advanced to the quarterfinals of this indoor event with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Stanislas Wawrinka.
Ferrer, the world No. 5, dominated the baseline rallies early on in Thursday night's match against the Swiss, who made his life difficult in the first set by putting just 47 percent of his first serves in play and losing his serve three times.
Wawrinka served much better in the second set and staved off all four break points he faced; he also snagged a critical break of serve in the seventh game.
In the third set, Ferrer was simply too solid from the baseline for Wawrinka, who won just 41 percent of his service points despite putting 73 percent of his first serves in play.
Next up for Ferrer in Friday's quarterfinals will be Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who edged Spain's Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) Thursday in a match that did not feature any service breaks.
"It'll be a very tough match. Tsonga serves well and has a good forehand. It will be our first match on (hard courts). I'll have to be very careful that he doesn't break my serve because breaking back will be difficult," Ferrer told Efe.
The two players have split their only two meetings, with Ferrer coming out on top on clay and Tsonga winning on grass at Wimbledon.
Ferrer said the crowd support for Tsonga won't affect him, adding that the players are "used to that and we focus more on the match. It's normal that they cheer for him."
He also played down his chances to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time after world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Andy Murray were upset on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
"Every match is tough. Tomorrow I have a tough battle against Tsonga. I'm not thinking about winning a Masters 1000. I'm thinking about each match and I know it's very even," Ferrer said.
The Spaniard also said he's not saving energy for next week's ATP World Tour Finals in London or this month's Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic.
"Every match you win is good because it gives you confidence. It's better to arrive in London having won Paris."
In Friday's other quarterfinal matches. Frenchman Gilles Simon will square off against Czech Tomas Berdych; Poland's Jerzy Janowicz, who stunned Murray on Thursday, will play Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic; and Michael Llodra, who eliminated Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, will take on American Sam Querrey.
By advancing to the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters, Tsonga and Tipsarevic also locked up the final two spots in next week's season-ending, eight-man ATP World Tour Finals.
The Paris Masters is one of nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, which are the biggest tournaments on the men's tennis calendar after the four Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour Finals.