Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remained undefeated at the Austrian Open as the top seed clinched a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 defeat of German Daniel Brands to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday.
“So far, I’m undefeated here,” said Tsonga, who won the title in his only previous appearance in 2011.
The Frenchman suffered a minor lapse in the second set as Brands — a winner over Roger Federer on clay at Gstaad in July — fought back to level the match at a set each.
Yet Tsonga, in contention for one of the remaining spots in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals next month in London, quickly regained his superiority to complete the victory in 93 minutes with seven aces and two breaks of serve.
“It was a tough match to start with,” said Tsonga, who suffered a knee injury in the summer and is competing in his fourth event over the past five weeks as he aims to qualify for the season wrap-up.
Former champion Tommy Haas saw off qualifier Miloslav Mecir Jr 7-5, 7-6 (10/8) to reach the quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old Slovak qualifier is the son of former world No. 4 Miloslav Mecir, the 1988 Olympic champion who also reached the 1986 US Open and 1989 Australian Open finals.
Second seed Haas, 35, is playing the Vienna event for the 11th time, having won the title in 2001 and now stands at 12-9 at the Stadthalle.
Yet the win, in just under two hours, was far from simple for Haas, who withdrew last week in Shanghai before his third-round match with back pain.
The German had to save a set point in the opener, before finally winning 7-5 in 45 minutes.
The 240th-ranked Mecir, whose opening-round win was his first at the ATP level, had two set points before Haas finished off the job on his third match point.
Mecir is the second son of a former top 10 player to win an ATP match this year. In July, it happened to Emilio Gomez, whose father is 1990 Roland Garros champion Andres Gomez, at a tournament in Quito.
Haas was happy to reach the next round.
“I was very impressed,” the German said of Mecir. “I had heard his name before and seen it in draws. I actually played Karol Kucera when his father was coaching him. Mecir has a similar game to his dad, he played well.”
Italian third seed Fabio Fognini began with a victory over Pole Lukas Kubot 7-5, 6-2, while Robin Haase defeated seventh seed Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.
Favorites David Ferrer and Milos Raonic were made to sweat by first-time opponents to reach the Stockholm Open quarter-finals on Thursday.
Top-seeded Ferrer made the last eight in Stockholm at his third attempt when he overcame Jack Sock of the US 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, while second-seeded Raonic was hard-pressed to finish off Joachim Johansson of Sweden, who came out of retirement at 31 and qualified for his first pro main draw in two years. Raonic won 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
No. 5 Ernests Gulbis of Latvia and No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria also won, but No. 4 Kevin Anderson of South Africa and three-time finalist Jarkko Nieminen of Finland lost their second-round matches.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat two-time finalist Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Luxembourg Open on Thursday.
Wozniacki joined second-seeded Sloane Stephens of the US, who advanced by beating Yvonne Meusburger of Austria 7-5, 6-4. Sabine Lisicki made it a perfect day for the top three seeds when the German defeated Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-0.