Novak Djokovic beat Canada's Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Tel Aviv Open.
The 35-year-old encountered a powerful Pospisil who proved a far greater challenge than his world ranking would suggest.
The Canadian has been plagued by back injuries and is ranked 145th in the world, but he was more than a match for the 21-time Grand Slam winner.
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Both men held serve throughout the first set and had the crowd on their feet with a series of a titanic baseline rallies.
A thrilling tie-break followed and while Pospisil fought back to level from 5-1 down, Djokovic edged out his rival to take the first set in just under an hour.
The two players traded breaks of serve at the start of the second set and more brilliant tennis followed, but Djokovic eventually managed to grab a second break and win the match in just under two hours.
“It was a great, positive win,” Djokovic said after the match.
“Vasek is one of my best friends on the Tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that.
“I think the level of tennis was really high. Especially towards the end of the first set and the second set. Credit to him for fighting. Great to see him back.”
Elsewhere, world number two Casper Ruud lost in the quarter-finals of the Korean Open.
Japanese underdog Yoshihito Nishioka, ranked 54th in the world, got the better of the Dane 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Ruud will lose his spot as world number two to Rafael Nadal, meaning that Spaniards will hold the top two spots of the men's rankings for the first time ever, with Carlos Alcaraz ranked number one.
Cameron Norrie's Korean Open run also ended after he withdrew from the tournament with illness, handing a walkover to American Jenson Brooksby.
Denmark's Holger Rune defeated Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4, with a markedly superior service game to his beaten opponent, to reach the semi-finals.
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