Andy Murray moved one step closer to retaining his St Petersburg Open title today by breezing past Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-2.
The British number one showed glimpses of his best form as the match wore on to beat the highly-rated Latvian in just over an hour.
Murray broke serve twice in both sets to set up a quarter-final with either Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic or France's Jeremy Chardy.
Gulbis defied the 46 ranking-point difference between the two in the opening exchanges and matched Murray up until the eighth game of the first set.
Three errors from the 20-year-old presented Murray with a golden chance to break the Latvian's serve but he hit back before Murray eventually broke after taking the game to deuce to open up a 5-3 lead.
Gulbis then broke back but Murray responded immediately by breaking his opponent's serve to love to take the first set 6-4.
The pair's only previous meeting had been at the Queen's club this summer when Murray needed three sets to overcome Gulbis, but he only needed two here to overcome his opponent.
The world number four broke Gulbis' serve twice again in the second set to seal the win.
He had to survive an early scare in the first game when Gulbis squandered a break point in the first game of the second set.
The number one seed held his nerve and broke Gulbis' serve at 30-40 in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead before he held his serve to leave him requiring one more win to finish the Latvian off.
He had two break points to break again but needed only one of them to complete a 6-4 6-2 victory.