John Millman has been made to work hard during his Astana Open title defence, but the Australian has battled into the quarter-finals.

The fifth seed clawed past Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5 after three hours and nine minutes on Wednesday to reach the last eight in Nur-Sultan. Millman, who also needed three sets in his first-round match Tuesday, is now 6-0 at the ATP 250.

“These long matches aren’t good in my old age, I tell you!” Millman said in his post-match interview. “But look, it was such a physical battle out there. I thought the level was extremely good. I thought I improved from yesterday in terms of how I was playing. But Mr. Munar, he’s a tough competitor.

“His body probably let him down a little bit towards the end. I’ve got to tell you, my body wasn’t feeling all that great, either. It was such a physical match and just so happy to extend my stay here.”

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Top seed Aslan Karatsev learned his first opponent when Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori advanced to the second round. The World No. 84 led Benjamin Bonzi 6-2 when the Frenchman retired. Bonzi has won six ATP Challenger Tour titles this year.

“I think it is going to be a fun match,” Ruusuvuori said of playing Karatsev. “We know he is playing at a high level, so it will be a nice test to see how high a level I can bring on the court tomorrow.”

Seventh seed Laslo Djere also moved on, beating #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 after two hours and 48 minutes. The Serbian will next play countryman Dusan Lajovic, the third seed, or South Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

In other action, eighth seed Ilya Ivashka ousted Kazakhstani wild card Timofey Skatov 6-2, 6-3 and Spaniard Carlos Taberner eliminated Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 7-5, 6-4.

– Reporting contributed by Courtney Walsh

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