Taylor Fritz saw his way past Alejandro Tabilo to advance to the quarter-finals at the US Men's Clay Court Championships, winning 6-1 6-4 on Thursday.
Fresh off his maiden ATP 1000 title at Indian Wells and fourth-round run in Miami, the American world number 13 needed just 62 minutes to win in straight sets, in his first clay court match for the season.
Fritz's serve was not particularly secure, though, with the unseeded Tabilo converting on only one of six break point attempts. Fritz was more efficient and assertive when opportunities presented on the other hand, taking two of three break point chances on Tabilo's serve while winning 12 out of 19 points returning on his second serve.
Despite the Chilean world number 100 fighting back to 4-4 from 3-0 down in the second set, Fritz steadied to close out the match.
"I felt like tonight was going to be a really tough match, given he's done really well on clay," Fritz said post-match. "It was my first match [on clay]. I'm pretty happy with how I played. I can't complain, I got out of that pretty solid."
Fritz will now face another Chilean, fifth seed and defending champion Cristian Garin, who came back from a set down to defeat Jordan Thompson 3-6 6-3 6-3.
Entering the Houston event on a five-match losing streak, Garin has come from behind in back-to-back matches to win.
Sixth seed Frances Tiafoe also went the distance on Thursday, earning a 5-7 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.
With neither garnering break point chances in the third set, Tiafoe finally created breathing room by winning four straight points at 2-2 in the deciding tie-break, before closing out the match.
It sets up an all-American quarter-final with John Isner, who defeated Steve Johnson 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in Thursday's final game.