World tennis No.8 David Ferrer has begun his campaign for a fifth ASB Classic title with a dominant 6-2 6-4 defeat of Aussie qualifier Matthew Barton.
Before the match the 299th-ranked Barton joked he would be happy to win a single game against top seed Ferrer, saying it was “unreal” just to play him.
With the same serve that carried him through the first round, the Australian held serve in the first game against the four-time Auckland champion but struggled after that.
A few well-placed cross-court shots and an unreturned serve won the Aussie the seventh game, but Ferrer proved too strong overall, taking the first set in just 25 minutes.
The second set looked much the same with Barton serving well to win games but was unable to match keep up with Ferrer’s consistent serve and accuracy, failing to break the Spaniard.
Ferrer repeatedly fought back from multiple game points down to shut Barton out and made impressive plays at the net to win points that looked lost – sealing the second set 6-4 in just over an hour.
The world No.8 will now face the winner of the match between No.5 seed Benoit Paire and Czech Lukas Rosol in the quarter-finals.
Earlier, world No.12 Kevin Anderson moved into the quarter-finals, beating Dutch opponent and world No.64 Robin Haase 7-6 7-6.
The fourth-seeded South African used his powerful serve to take the set to a tie-breaker where he held the edge.
Anderson, who made the semi-finals in Auckland last year, seemed to struggle with the wind on centre court but quickly took the lead in the tie-breaker, leading 4-0 before Haase fought back, only to eventually lose it 10-8 on a double-fault.
Haase took charge in the second set tie-breaker, going up 4-1 with an ace and aggressive play at the net, but Anderson kept his cool to come back and win it.
Away from centre court, No.8 seed Robert Bautista Agut of Spain took down American Donald Young 6-4 7-6.