Third-seeded Novak Djokovic takes a welcome dose of confidence into Friday's quarter-final with an old foe, after defeating Italy's Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 at the Cincinnati Masters, dpa reported.
The Serb who holds the Australian Open title will face former Munich academy schoolmate Ernests Gulbis after the Latvian beat seventh seed James Blake for the second time in two months 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
"After the tough two-tiebreak, second-round match (over Simone Bolelli), I managed to really get through with an easy score," said the relived Djokovic, now 42-10 on the season.
Djokovic, 21, has won all three of his matches with Baltic teenaged talent Gulbis, last beating him in Paris in May.
"It was a matter of time when he was going to make this breakthrough and just gain the experience with the time," said the seed. "He's showing his quality now and he's one of the young rising stars that we expect to see more in the future."
Gulbis said he's working on controlling his tendency to drop the mental ball on court.
"Often when I win first set I'm a little bit looser and I think that second set is going to be easy. But against tough opponents like Blake, you cannot lose concentration not for one second."
Spain's unseeded Carlos Moya completed a match interrupted by rain in the second set Thursday night as he put out Russian fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko 7-6 (10-8), 4-6, 6-2.
Davydenko, known in the past for competing almost every week, has played a sparse schedule, losing in the Wimbledon first round and then taking a month off before travelling to Toronto for a second- round exit last week.
Moya will face off next against on-form Scot who beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-3. German Philipp Kohlschreiber out-duelled Swede Robin Soderling 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 7-6 (10-8)