Vera Zvonareva marched into the quarter-finals for the first time in Tokyo when she whipped Roberta Vinci of Italy in the Pan Pacific Open on Wednesday.
The Russian second seed, who reached her career highest at fourth in the world after finishing runner-up at the US Open, took the last seven games in a row to score a 6-4, 6-0 victory in the third round.
In her previous two visits to Tokyo, Zvonareva lost in the first round both times, to Samantha Stosur of Australia in 2007 and to Alisa Kleybanova of Russia last year.
"Overall, I think I played a good match, but there is still room for improvement, particularly with consistency. I need to be more consistent and I didn't show my best today, but I played well when I needed to," said Zvonareva.
"The conditions were different today, the roof was open and it was windy and we had to get used to the conditions, which affected both our games throughout the match, but overall, I am happy with the way I played," she said.
In the quarter-finals on Thursday, Zvonareva will play Beijing Olympic gold medallist and compatriot Elena Dementieva, seeded seventh, who had to come back from an early service break down to beat Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-2.
French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, ranked eighth in the world, put an end to Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm's giant-killing run with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
"It was a tough match because she hits the ball very flat and the ball stays very low and doesn't bounce. I had to work a lot every point and had to make sure I rotated every ball that I hit," said Schiavone, 30.
"In the first set, I was leading 4-1, but every point was close, we were fighting for every single point and every game was very close with lots of deuces. I think in the second set, when I broke for 4-3, that was when I knew I could win," she added.
Date, who celebrated her 40th birthday on Tuesday, reached the third round by beating defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
In other third-round action, Marion Bartoli of France quit her match due to viral illness when she lost the first set 6-2 to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the eighth seed.
American Coco Vandeweghe became the only qualifier to reach the quarter-finals when she outclassed Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-0.