Australian Bernard Tomic has continued his pre-Wimbledon build-up on grass, overpowering Tommy Haas to set up a quarter-final showdown with Rafael Nadal in Stuttgart.
Tomic saw off Haas 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 on Thursday to cut short the 37-year-old German’s comeback after more than a year on the sidelines since undergoing shoulder surgery.
The fifth seed from Queensland lost just 10 points on serve but also converted only two of his eight break points throughout the match.
It meant the 22-year-old had to battle to close out victory, with former world No.2 Haas salvaging three match points in the second last game on the new grass of the Weissenhof club, which was changed from clay in time for this edition.
“I was down 6-4 in the tiebreak and managed to hit an unbelievable pass,” Tomic said afterwards.
“That was the turning point. I managed to hit the right shot at the right time.
“In the second set, I felt like I played the right tennis and played really well.
“Match by match, I’m getting better, which is the most important thing, I think.”
Tomic, who is ranked a career high No.24 in the world, will next face top-seeded Nadal after the Spaniard took more than two-and-a-half hours to beat Marcos Baghdatis.
Nadal, whose ranking has fallen to 10th after a terrible clay season in which he failed to win a European title, overcame Baghdatis 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-2.
The 29-year-old was pleased to escape an upset at the hands of the Cypriot just over a week after crashing out of the French Open when Novak Djokovic ended his 39-match winning streak at Roland Garros.
“Marcos made it difficult. He’s a tough opponent on this surface,” Nadal said.
“I need to play more aggressively if I’m to improve on the grass.
“This was an important victory for me – it’s good for the confidence.
“I have great memories of winning here when Stuttgart was clay, but I’m going to try my best to win it on grass now.”
Mischa Zverev assured at least one local in the quarters as he defeated Italian Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-4.
Zverev, ranked 502, will be playing in his first quarter-final since Halle in 2013 when he lost to Roger Federer.