Marin Cilic was too strong for Steve Johnson in the Japan Open, winning in straight sets to march into the quarter-finals.
Sixth seed Marin Cilic will face defending champion Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open after beating Steve Johnson in straight sets on Thursday.
Cilic has failed to feature in a final this year, but the 2014 US Open champion moved a step closer to ending that unwanted record by seeing off Johnson 6-3 6-3 in Tokyo.
The world number 14 did not lose a game on serve and claimed three breaks to come through his second-round match at the Ariake Coliseum in 73 minutes.
Cilic moves above Milos Raonic into 12th spot in the race to secure a place in the ATP World Tour Finals, but is 1,245 points behind David Ferrer - who currently occupies the eighth and final place.
He now faces a last-eight match against home favourite Nishikori, a two-time winner of this tournament who is also aiming to secure his place in the season-ending London showpiece.
Johnson was immediately up against it when Cilic surged into a 3-0 lead and the underdog was unable to win any of the five breaks-point chances he was presented with as he went a set down.
Cilic then broke in the opening game of the second and broke again to end the contest and seal his place in the quarter-finals.
Qualifier Austin Krajicek will take on top seed Stan Wawrinka in the last eight after beating Joao Sousa in three sets.
The 124th-ranked Krajicek got the better of Sousa 2-6 6-4 6-3 to ensure he will feature in only his second ATP World Tour quarter-final.
Nick Kyrgios and Benoit Paire will meet in the last eight following their victories over Roberto Bautista Agut and Marcos Baghdatis respectively.