Top seed Robin Soderling had to battle for almost two hours to overcome Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of the Marseille Open on Thursday.
Swede Soderling only managed to create two break points, both of which he converted, against world number 69 Stakhovsky.
"I think this is the first time I started a tournament on Thursday. It was good to have a few days off after Rotterdam," the world number eight, who won his first title this season in the Netherlands last Sunday, told reporters.
"I've always had good results in Marseille and I can remember I reached the final here in 2004," he added.
Soderling, 25, will next face France's 2009 finalist Michael Llodra.
Home crowd favourite Gael Monfils needed two tie-breaks to beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 7-6, 3-6, 7-6. The third-seeded Frenchman fired 18 aces but never managed to break his opponent's serve.
Teenage wildcard Guillaume Rufin reached his first ATP quarter-final with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 win over Belgium's Yannick Mertens.
"It's like being in a fairy tale. Last Friday, I was strolling the streets of Paris hoping to get a wildcard here in Marseille," the 19-year-old told reporters.
He will meet German Mischa Zverev in the quarter-finals.