Top seed and defending champion John Isner saved two match points en route to a three-set victory over Robby Ginepri on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP Atlanta Open.
America`s Isner, ranked 12th in the world, was playing his first match of the tournament after enjoying a first-round bye, and nearly fell at the first hurdle.
Ginepri had Isner on the ropes with a 5-4 lead in the third set, but Isner used his big serve to save two match points and level the set at 5-5.
He broke Ginepri in the next game and went on to claim a 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 victory.
Second-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, beaten by Isner in last year`s final, won`t get a chance to avenge that defeat after falling 6-4, 7-5 to Dutch lucky loser Thiemo De Bakker.
The 142nd-ranked De Bakker converted three of his 13 break chances against world number 17 Anderson to gain the victory in the rain-disrupted match.
"I felt a step behind the whole match," said Anderson. "I thought (De Bakker) played well, hit the ball quite big. I was disappointed with how I played today."
De Bakker, who delivered his fourth ace of the contest on match point, said the victory proved he can play against the game`s top players.
"My goal is to play them more and more often and also to improve my level of play," he said.
In the quarter-finals, De Bakker will play Germany`s Benjamin Becker, who ousted seventh-seeded Lu Yen-Hsun 6-4, 6-3.
Isner next faces eighth-seeded Australian Marinko Matosevic, who reached his fifth quarter-final of 2014 when he defeated American Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-5 in 95 minutes, breaking Smyczek five times.
The other two quarter-finals were set on Wednesday. Fourth-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada will play Israel`s Dudi Sela and American Jack Sock will take on Slovakian Lukas Lacko.