Vienna:Two-time defending champion Ivan Ljubicic rallied to beat Mardy Fish of the United States 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the BA-CA Tennis Trophy.
The third-seeded Croatian, who won the event in 2005 and 2006, lost a set for the first time in Vienna but stretched his unbeaten record to 12 matches.
"Everyone expects me to win easily here, but I just want to win, no matter how," Ljubicic said. "Sometimes you have to work hard when your game is not at its best. I felt a bit insecure on the big points."
Ljubicic failed to convert his first five break points. He held serve throughout but lost the tiebreaker as Fish converted his first set point with an ace.
Fish earned two break points early in the second, but didn't convert either, and then was broken twice by Ljubicic.
The decider had no breaks and in the tiebreaker only Fish dropped a point on serve when he double-faulted at 4-4.
In the quarterfinals, Ljubicic will play Andreas Seppi of Italy, who beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-3.
Second-seeded Fernando Gonzalez defeated Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4.
The sixth-ranked Chilean, who lost in last year's final to Ljubicic, dominated the match with strong serves and attacking forehands from the baseline.
Gonzalez had eight aces and never dropped more than two points on serve.
"It was nice to have a couple of service winners each game. That really boosted my confidence," Gonzalez said. "Besides that, there were a lot of rallies due to the slow court, which worked in my favor."
An early break was enough for Gonzalez to win the first set. He converted his only break point in the second set at 3-3.
In the quarterfinals, Gonzalez will play Juan Carlos Ferrero, who beat Julien Benneteau 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-2.
Both players held serve to force the tiebreaker in the first set. Benneteau converted both break chances he earned to win the second, but was outplayed in the decider by Ferrero, who fought off three break chances in the set.