Top seed Rohan Bopanna and fifth seed Vinod Sridhar registered contrasting victories to move into the quarter-finals in the third leg of the ITF men's tennis tournament in Gurgaon on Wednesday.
Bopanna got the better of Yew Ming Si of Malaysia, winning 6-2, 6-3, while Sridhar was given some anxious moments by Tushar Liberhan before prevailing 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in an hour and 55 minutes.
Despite the straight set verdict for Sridhar it was Liberhan who won the hearts of the handful of spectators at the National Tennis Academy.
The Chandigarh-boy showed he has improved a lot over the past few months and really had in him to reap off the cover of the ball with his strong forehand.
In the first set, Liberhan matched his more experienced opponents point for point till a couple of unforced errors saw him lose serve in the ninth game.
But the NTA trainee came back strongly to earn two break-points in the very next game but his inexperience showed as he did not go for the kill.
Sridhar used his forehand to good effect to save the game and take the set.
It looked like the contest was over when Sridhar broke Liberhan in the first game of the second set.
But it was not to be as Liberhan broke back in the sixth game. It was a keen tussle thereafter but none of the players could manage to earn a break forcing the set into the tie-break.
Sridhar once again showed that experience was the main difference between the two as he pressurised his opponent to commit mistakes and took the match.
Sridhar will now meet third seed Prima Simpatiaji of Indonesia for a place in the semi-finals.
Simpatiaji, a finalist in the first leg, came from a set down to beat Vishal Uppal 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the next round.
Also advancing to the quarter-finals was Peter Clarke of Ireland. The second seed was given a tough fight in the first set by Vijay Kannan but then used his big serves to good effect to take the tie 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 in an hour and 57 minutes.
In other matches, former national champion Nitin Kirtane and Kamala Kannan continued their fine run as they defeated Ashutosh Singh and Navdeep Singh respectively.
Kirtane, who had on Tuesday accounted for fourth seed Stephen Mitchell of South Africa, had little trouble in packing off Ashutosh 6-3, 6-0 while Kamala came back after dropping a set to beat Navdeep 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal tie against Bopanna.