Auckland: Spanish guns David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro were firing on all cylinders at the Auckland ATP International on Wednesday, blasting their way into the quarter-finals with ease.
The top two seeds were making their first appearance in the tournament after first round byes and wasted no time stamping their mark, and showing impressive form ahead of the season's first grand slam starting in Melbourne on Monday.
Ferrer, the world number 5, raced past Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2, while Almagro, 10th in the world, beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo by the same margin.
Ferrer will play Alejandro Falla in the quarter-finals after the Colombian continued his charmed run with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 win over Potito Starace of Italy following his first-round win over seventh-seed American Donald Young.
Almagro found Giraldo difficult to shake off in the opening games with the match going to 4-4 in the first set, but when the Spaniard found his rhythm it was one-way traffic to the end.
"I think I served really well and played well on the forehand and backhand," said Almagro as he immediately switched his attention to a looming quarter-final encounter with German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
"Tomorrow is another fight and I will see what I can do. It is going to be a tough match, and the only thing I want to do is be focused on that match right now."
Eighth-seed Kohlschreiber, who has a 3-3 record against Almagro, survived a three-setter for the second time in three days when he dropped the first set against American Ryan Harrison before bouncing back to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Despite the physical toll of the two-hour encounter, further lengthened by a 35-minute rain break, Kohlschreiber said he was glad to have the extended time on court early in the season.
"It could be easier but at the moment this is exactly what I need," the German said.
"At the start of the second and third set I played well and aggressively and it was a very tough fight today. I felt comfortable with my game from the baseline."
Frenchman Benoit Paire, who beat former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in the first round continued his giantkilling run, beating fourth-seed Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.