Valencia - Andy Murray has inched closer to sealing his place at the World Tour Finals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Fabio Fognini to reach the Valencia Open quarter-finals on Thursday.
The Scot has won 15 of his last 17 matches to put himself on course for a seventh consecutive appearance at the season-ending event which features the world's top eight players.
However, top seed David Ferrer also remained in contention as he swept aside compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last eight.
Murray had looked far from convincing on serve in disposing of Jurgen Melzer on Wednesday, but didn't even face a break point as he set up a last-eight clash with South Africa's Kevin Anderson.
The two-time Grand Slam champion had won only one of his previous three previous meetings with Fognini, including a defeat in the deciding rubber of the Davis Cup tie between Great Britain and Italy earlier this year.
However, Murray raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set and even had a set point at 5-1 before serving it out 6-2.
Just one break was enough in the second set as Murray upped his intensity in the fifth game to break to 15.
Ferrer was just as comfortable as he breezed past Verdasco in just over an hour on court.
A three-time winner in Valencia, Ferrer could meet Murray in the semi-finals should he overcome Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Belluci, who was given a walkover into the last eight after sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut pulled out due to an injury.
Anderson had an equally easy route into the quarters as his scheduled opponent Martin Klizan also withdrew.
Home favourite Pablo Andujar continued where he left off in beating second seed Tomas Berdych on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic to set up a quarter-final meeting with compatriot Tommy Robredo.
Results from the fourth day of the ATP Valencia Open on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Pablo Andujar (ESP) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-3, 6-2
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-2, 6-4
Kevin Anderson (RSA x7) bt Martin Klizan (SRB) walkover
Thomaz Belluci (BRA) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x6) walkover
David Ferrer (ESP x1) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-3, 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5