Dominic Thiem remained on course for a first title of the year, seeing off Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-2 7-5 to reach the Rio Open quarter-finals.
The Austrian is the highest-ranked player in the tournament after the shock first-round exit of world No 5 and top seed Kei Nishikori who was beaten by Tomaz Bellucci.
Thiem, who has raced across the Atlantic from Rotterdam, followed up his own first-round victory over Janko Tipsarevic with another straight sets success, this time over Lajovic, the world No 7.
After racing through the first set, Thiem was given a tougher test in the second before eventually prevailing with a decisive late break to book his place in the last eight.
The world No 8 was a semi-finalist in Rio last year and will look to at least match that when he faces Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman on Friday.
Schwartzman beat compatriot Federico Delbonis 6-4 7-6 while elsewhere in the bottom half of the draw another Argentine, Nicolas Kicker, will meet fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the quarter-finals.
The tournament continues on Sky Sports on Thursday with the four remaining second round matches, all in the top half of the draw.
On Gustavo Kuerten Court, Horacio Zeballos meets last week’s winner in Buenos Aires Alexandr Dolgopolov, wild card Casper Ruud faces Roberto Carballes Baena before the all-Brazilian clash between Bellucci and Thiago Monteiro.
Completing the last 16 will be fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta against Victor Estrella Burgos who meet on Court No 1.
Follow the Rio Open on Sky Sports, Thursday’s live action gets underway at 7.30pm on Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports Mix. Don’t forget to follow us skysports.com/tennis, our app for mobile devices and iPad or our Twitter account @skysportstennis for news, reports and expert analysis.