Vienna: Spain`s Nicolas Almagro made his return to ATP indoor play after a year on hardcourts and clay by leading a trio of seeds into the quarter-finals of the Austria Tennis Trophy.
Almagro had a one-match interlude indoors in a Davis Cup loss to France in July, but last played a tournament under the roof at Paris Bercy last November, winning a round before losing to compatriot Rafael Nadal.
He advanced in Vienna after beating Colombian Santiago Giraldo 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 and will next face Argentine eighth seed Juan Ignacio Chela, a 2-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 winner against Grega Zemlja of Slovenia.
"This is a surface I must get used to, I need to play aggressive, much more than I did today," said Almagro.
"I felt good on court but I`m still not at 100 percent yet.”
"It was a tough match, but I must play better that this today. I have to improve my serve when I play Chela."
Almagro managed 12 aces to the 13 of Giraldo in a contest that stretched to just over two hours at the Stadthalle.
Last weekend`s Moscow finalist Marcos Baghdatis advanced into the last eight as he crushed German Bjorn Phau 7-5, 6-2, sweeping the last four games of a match that lasted 72 minutes.
The fourth seed fired 11 aces and broke three times and will now take on German Michael Berrer, who beat Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
Baghdatis has claimed only one title this season, having started 2010 by taking the honours at Sydney.
There was delight for the home crowd as unheralded Andreas Haider-Maurer, the world number 157, followed up his first-round defeat of veteran Thomas Muster with a thrilling 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/2) win over Italy`s Andreas Seppi.
"I`m glad I was able to show that I can compete," said the Austrian, a lucky loser from qualifying who only entered the field when Ernests Gulbis withdrew before the Muster match.
"This was a good victory for me and I hope to keep up this form."
Haider-Maurer will on Friday face a test against second seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, a losing semi-finalist in 2009 to Jurgen Melzer.