Vienna - David Ferrer spent a mere 62 minutes in delivering a crushing 6-1, 6-1 defeat to fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Thursday to stay in the chase for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.
The top seed who lost the final here a year ago at the Stadthalle to Andy Murray, strengthened his claim on provisional eighth in the race for the last two positions in the eight-man London tournament.
But standing ninth and up for the challenge is burly Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the weekend Shanghai finalist ready to keep pace as he faces Lukas Rosol in the second round.
According to ATP calculations, Tsong can edge closer to Ferrer, who holds a margin of 945 points on the former Australian Open finalist with this week plus two more remaining in the ATP regular season.
Japan's Kei Nishikori, who stands seventh, is not playing this week. He leads Ferrer by 455 points, with a title at the revitalised Vienna event now worth 500 points.
"Of course I have pressure, but I'm in a good position," said Ferrer, winner of four titles this year who missed three spring-summer months with an elbow injury. "There is more pressure on the others.
" don't want to watch the results of the others, I'm confident with where I am right now.
"I played a much better match today after adapting to the conditions. I had no mistakes, but I'm only in the quarter-finals. To earn the title I have to win three more matches."
The Spaniard won with five aces to the same number of double-faults for Garcia-Lopez, with Ferrer breaking five times.
Ferrer, 33, takes a perfect 15-0 record over Fabio Fognini into his quarter-final after the Italian eighth seed advanced 6-1, 6-4 against Czech Radek Stepanek.
Steve Johnson (U.S.) beat Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 1-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) 6-1 6-1 8-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 6-1 6-4