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.
I`ve always said the person who wins the world championship this year is the person who does the best job on the circuit, but that does not seem the way it is at the moment.