Estoril: Second seed Fernando Verdasco put an end to a frustrating series of losses by battling to a 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) second round win over Portugal's Frederico Gil at the ATP-WTA Estoril Open on Thursday.
Verdasco had lost his opening match at four of his last five ATP tournaments, prompting the Spaniard to drop from ninth to 15th in the rankings.
However the 27-year-old, playing at the event for the first time in eight years, turned the page by booking a quarter final against South African seventh seed Kevin Anderson, who defeated Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-2.
Verdasco had to fight for his win over Gil, who was swept away in the first set but laid on a fighting rally in the second trailing 2-5.
He broke Verdasco twice to get back into the match, finally taking it into a tie-breaker which he narrowly lost.
French fourth seed Gilles Simon eliminated Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-2, 6-1 to set up a meeting with on-form Canadian Milos Raonic, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Portugal's Joao Sousa.
Simon erased some bitter memories of his last visit to Portugal, when he missed on a match point in his quarter final with eventual champion Albert Montanes.
The number 22 is hoping to put his experience to use against Raonic, ranked 27th and the breakout competitor of this ATP season.
"He's the player with some of the best for this season," said the Frenchman.
"He's playing well but he doesn't have that much experience on clay. I think it might be better to play him now instead of for the first time when he may be in the Top 15."
"I'm pleased with how I played today, it was a good match for me. I managed to work on some things in my game as well."
Number 27 Raonic reached his first career quarter final on clay, with the fifth seed learning all he can in his first spring on the surface as prepares to play as a seed at Roland Garros starting May 22.
"I'm happy with how I'm executing. This has been a good week so far, but I'm not looking far ahead. I don't go through the draw, I just look at who I play next," said the Canadian.
"I feel I'm making progress every week, I never expected it to go so well so quickly on clay so of course I'm very pleased."
In women's play, all top three seeds were beaten in the quarter finals.
German Kristina Barrois upset number one Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 6-4, 6-2 and will next face Swede Johanna Larsson, who put out Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2, 7-5.
Romanian Monica Niculescu stopped second seed Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 while Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues upset number three Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 7-5.