Soderling strolls into last eight in Barcelona
Barcelona: World number eight Robin Soderling, the highest-ranked player left in the Barcelona Open after a slew of withdrawals, sprinted into the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Spain`s Feliciano Lopez.
The second-seeded Swede, last year`s French Open runner-up, next plays Argentine Eduardo Schwank who put out Spain`s Ivan Navarro 6-3, 7-6.
Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and number five Fernando Verdasco had to come from behind to advance.
Frenchman Tsonga overcame Spain`s Nicolas Almagro 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 while home hope Verdasco beat Austrian Juergen Melzer 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
World number 10 Tsonga will play Thiemo de Bakker for a place in Saturday`s semi-finals after the 21-year-old Dutchman upset seventh seed Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.
"I wasn`t sliding well at the start, the clay was quite heavy," Tsonga told reporters.
"Then I started to play a bit more how I play on hardcourts which enabled me to get back into the match in the second and third set."
Verdasco, losing finalist at last week`s Monte Carlo Masters, will play Ernests Gulbis on Friday after the Latvian saw off Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos 6-1, 6-3.
"The court was very slow and I had to suffer a lot to win but I got a lot of support from the crowd at key moments," said Verdasco.
"I have to prepare for tomorrow`s match now which is definitely going to be very tough."
Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer, runner-up to compatriot Rafael Nadal in 2008 and 2009, advanced when Simone Bolelli retired from their match with a wrist injury.
World number 17 Ferrer was leading 6-0, 3-0 when the Italian pulled out. He next plays Thomaz Bellucci after the Brazilian 13th seed beat Spain`s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-4.
World number three Nadal, who has won the title for the past five years, skipped this week`s event to give his body a rest after landing a record sixth consecutive Monte Carlo crown on Sunday.