Beijing: Top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ended local hopes at the China Open with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of wildcard Zhang Ze to reach the quarter-finals on Thursday.
The women`s tournament suffered another blow when second seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus pulled out with a foot injury to leave Caroline Wozniacki as the only top-10 player in the draw after the world number one beat Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
The 389-ranked Zhang offered some resistance to Frenchman Tsonga and gave a good account of himself in front of Chinese basketball hero Yao Ming who was watching from a VIP box.
However, despite making the world number seven sweat an upset never really looked likely as Tsonga went through to the last eight where he will play former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero after he beat fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
"I think when you reach the top 100 you can see the difference between the serves and with the returns," Tsonga told reporters after finishing the match with an ace.
All the pre-tourament hype surrounded China`s French Open women`s champion Li Na but she crashed out in the first round of the WTA event which is running alongside the men`s.
Former world number ones Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams pulled out before the tournament and Azarenka departed on Thursday when she could not play her third round match against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"I`m sorry to the fans. I was hoping my foot would be okay, but it has been bothering me since Tokyo," Azarenka said. "I`m not sure about recovery time but I will continue to consult my doctor. I hope to be back for Luxembourg."
Denmark`s Wozniacki was pushed hard by Kanepi before sealing a 6-3, 7-6 victory and a quarter-final against Italy`s Flavia Pennetta who beat Dominika Cibulkova.
"I`m happy about the way I played. I think it was a high level match and Kaia is a good player. I knew it was going to be a tough match, more so after losing to her last week (in Tokyo)," Wozniacki said.
"I was really happy to get this win and to get my revenge."
The 26-year-old Kanepi, ranked 46th, rallied in the second set after twice losing serve, sending Wozniacki chasing around the baseline with some fierce returns.
She forced the second set into a tiebreak and had the weary looking defending champion on the back foot but an attempted drop shot into the net at 3-3 handed the initiative back to Wozniacki who was relieved to see her opponent double fault to end the contest.
Wozniacki said the lack of top-10 players in the draw did not detract from the tournament.
"Maybe 20 or 30 years ago you knew that the top 10 were going to be in the quarterfinals every single time," she said. "It`s not like that anymore. I just fight for every point, and I`m happy that I am where I am," added Wozniacki, who was crowned world number one at last year`s China Open.
Croatia`s Marin Cilic reached the men`s quarter-finals after a three-set win against Italian Fabio Fognini.