Spain's Rafael Nadal overcame the big serving of Poland's Jerzy Janowicz and a rocky second set to win 7-5, 6-3 and earn a berth in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters.
The world No. 1 stepped up his game Thursday night compared to the previous round to record his 70th victory of the season.
Nadal stayed patient against the Pole, who blasted serves as fast as 234 kph (145 mph) and won one game with four consecutive aces.
He finally got his chance in the 11th game when Janowicz's serve effectiveness fell slightly. Nadal squandered one break point with a missed backhand volley, but kept battling and finally took the game - and a 6-5 lead - a few points later.
Nadal served out the first set and then seemed to take complete control of the match when he got an early break in the second set, although Janowicz subsequently broke the Spaniard's serve for the first time in the tournament to erase that advantage.
The world No. 1 kept heaping the pressure on, however, and broke serve again in the fifth game. Although Janowicz refused to go away and created four more break points the rest of the way, he was unable to convert them and Nadal took the match in one hour and 43 minutes.
The Spaniard's clutch play was the difference as he saved six of the seven break points he faced, all of them coming in the second set.
Next up for Nadal in Friday's quarterfinals will be home crowd favorite Richard Gasquet, who cruised into the final eight with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory Thursday over Japan's Kei Nishikori.
Nadal holds an 11-0 record against Gasquet, but the Frenchman comes into the match on a high note after qualifying this week for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the second time in his career.
The world No. 1 also has had a memorable season in 2013, coming back from injury to win his eighth French Open title, second U.S. Open crown and eight other tournaments.
Friday's other quarterfinal match on the top half of the draw will pit Spain's David Ferrer against Czech Tomas Berdych.
In the bottom half, Swiss Roger Federer will take on Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic will square off against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka.
The Paris Masters quarterfinalists are the same players who will compete in next week's eight-man ATP World Tour Finals, which gets underway at London's O2 Arena on Monday. EFE