Houston: Top-seeded Mardy Fish advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Clay Court Championships on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Albert Ramos of Spain.
Fish dominated most of the match and was leading 5-1 in the second set when Ramos made a charge. Ramos held in the seventh game and then broke Fish in the eighth game on the fourth break point.
Fish finally put the match away after escaping two break points in the 10th game.
"Naturally, you think, 6-3, 5-1 and you figure the finish line is pretty close," Fish said. "You've got to keep your foot on the gas a little more. But he played better at the end. He has nothing to lose at that point. We've all be there."
Fish, who won the clay-court title in 2006, is the top-ranked American at No. 11 in the world. He saved eight of nine break points against Ramos, including six of seven in the second set.
It was Fish's first match on clay this year.
"You forget how physical it is and how patient you have to be and how points don't just end as quickly as they do on hard courts," he said. "You walk off any time with a win on clay court and you are pretty satisfied."
Third-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain also reached the quarterfinals, overcoming five double-faults to beat India's Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-1.
"I played pretty consistent and it was a solid match for my first time on clay this year," Garcia-Lopez said. "Overall, I am happy with the start. I look forward to the quarterfinals."
In other matches, seventh-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay beat James Blake 7-5, 6-1, and Kei Nishikori of Japan defeated Igor Andreev of Russia, 6-3, 6-3.