Third and fourth seeds Tomas Berdych and Roberto Bautista Agut led the way into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday with straights-sets wins over outclassed opponents.
As clouds moved into the Gulf, conditions remained hot at 33 degrees Celsius at the Aviation Club, where Berdych tamed Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-2.
Bautista Agut claimed a 16th win of the season with a 6-0, 6-1 hammering of South Korean youngster Chung Hyeon.
Top seed Novak Djokovic and second seed Stan Wawrinka play their second round matches later, with the Serb facing Malek Jaziri of Tunisia and the Swiss taking on Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.
Flamboyant Australian Nick Kyrgios won his second match in less than 24 hours, after a late arrival in the emirate following his first career title last weekend in Marseille.
The unseeded threat dispatched Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-2 and next faces Berdych, who he beat last weekend in the French indoor semi-finals, although two-time finalist Berdych knocked the talented 20-year-old out of the Australian Open last month.
“He’s doing well, for me it’s going to be a big challenge. I have a lot to get back after last week. I must refocus myself, try to raise the game, and play some good tennis again,” Berdych said.
“He’s full of fireworks on the court – in a good way. He’s playing really aggressive. He’s going for a lot of shots, risking a lot.”
Bautista Agut, who has won two titles already this season, will next face Marcos Baghdatis after the popular Cypriot defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-2.
The 18th-ranked Spaniard is thrilled with his progress this season after schooling the teenaged Chung, denying him a second career ATP quarter-final.
“It’s good to win like this, playing well and doing everything you practise for. But I have to be humble and know that to keep winning like this, it’s impossible.
“For every win you must work a lot, play for two hours. I’m happy because I won fast today (54 minutes) but I know it’s going to be tougher and tougher.”
Two more seeds also reached the last eight, with sixth seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez beating Czech Lukas Rosol 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) and German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber putting out young Croatian Borna Coric 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).