Richard Krajicek beat the Slovakian qualifier Karol Kucera 6-4, 6-4 to ease into the quarter-finals of the European Community championship in Antwerp yesterday.
Winner here in 1992, the fourth-seeded Dutchman said he was extremely pleased with his confidence-boosting performance in his first event since being forced to retire from last month's Australian Open with an arm injury.
He was out of action for two weeks after his mishap and surprisingly left out of the Dutch Davis Cup team, which was then beaten 3-2 by India.
"I'm very satisfied, especially with my volleys and forehand shots." said Krajicek, whose quarter-final opponent will be the German Michael Stich if the former Wimbledon champion gets through to that stage.
Stich, who served 16 aces in his 6-4, 7-6 first-round win over the Czech Daniel Vacek, plays Belgium's Johan Van Herck in the second round. Antwerp is only the second tournament for Stich since he tore a ligament in his left ankle last October.
"Now it's just a matter of getting confident again," said Stich, who never felt the injury jeopardised his career. "They can fix anything these days," he added.