Novak Djokovic overcame stiff resistance from Feliciano Lopez to book his place in the quarter-finals of Madrid Masters with a 6-4, 7-5 win on Thursday.
Djokovic had battled back from 0-3 down in the deciding set in his opening match against Nicolas Almagro in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.
And, although not pushed that far by Lopez, the Serb is still struggling to rekindle the form that saw him hold all four Grand Slams just under a year ago.
Djokovic was, though, dominant on serve throughout, facing only one break point in the opening game of the second set.
And the 12-time Grand Slam champion applied just enough pressure at the right time to break Lopez’s serve in the final game of both sets.
“The level was definitely very high today I thought from both players,” said Djokovic.
“I think Feliciano played really well, especially in the second set. I wasn’t winning too many points on his service games until the last one where I managed to return many balls back in play and then win the match.”
Djokovic faces a much tougher test on Friday against world No8 Kei Nishikori, who earlier swept aside David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.
Nishikori has been dealing with a wrist problem and it appears it is not completely gone yet.
“It’s been feeling good, better than I expected. I’m happy with my physically condition,” said the Japanese star.
“I don’t know how much, you know, I can play, how much this wrist going to hold for couple more matches. I don’t know. But I try to see every day.”
David Goffin awaits the winner of Rafa Nadal’s clash with Australian Nick Kyrgios as the Belgian beat world No6 Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-2.
“I’m feeling really happy obviously. It was a great match. I returned really well. Of course that was the key always against Milos, just to try and find the rhythm on my baseline, and try to return every serve. I returned really well, especially in the second match. It was almost the perfect match,” said Goffin.
“I made him run a lot, he moved from backhand to forehand a lot. I was really aggressive, and at the end, 6-4, 6-2, it’s a really good performance I think.”