British number one Andy Murray kept his Masters Cup hopes alive by beating Fabrice Santoro to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.
Murray had to beat Santoro to maintain his Masters Cup challenge
Murray breezed past veteran Santoro 6-4 6-2 and next faces Richard Gasquet.
Gasquet did Murray a favour by beating James Blake, who had started the week in 10th place in the ATP Race, one place ahead of the British number one.
The top eight in the Race qualify for the year-ending Masters Cup and Murray is chasing one of two remaining spots.
Fernando Gonzalez holds seventh place in the Race and will only miss out on the Masters Cup in Shanghai if two of the chasing pack reach the final.
I don't feel like there's as much pressure on me as on the other guys
Tommy Haas, who began the week in the eighth and last qualifying spot, three points ahead of Murray, was beaten 6-4 1-6 6-3 by Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
Murray must also outperform Tommy Robredo, but the Spaniard came through a tough match against Guillermo Canas 7-5 7-5 to book his place in the last eight, meaning Murray must win at least one more match to overtake him.
If Robredo reaches the semi-finals, Murray will have to reach the final to qualify.
His chances of doing so may have increased after world number one Roger Federer, who was in the same half of the draw as Murray, was beaten 6-4 7-6 by David Nalbandian.
Gasquet, Youzhny and Marcos Baghdatis are the other players still in contention for the final places in Shanghai if they can go far in the tournament.
"Santoro is one of my favourite players to watch," Murray said after his victory. "I won't see a style like his for the rest of my career.
"I felt like I was in a rhythm. I'd got used to Centre Court and played well.
"I don't feel like there's as much pressure on me as on the other guys.
"In fact, it's getting easier because players are falling away as the tournament goes on. I've just got to keep winning."
Certainly, Murray's task on Thursday was made easier by Santoro upsetting Novak Djokovic in the previous round.
Santoro, 14 years Murray's senior, found his armoury of fiendish angles and delicate touches outclassed by the shot-making wizardry of his younger opponent.
Santoro immediately broke back after Murray took the lead in the third game, but had no reply when the British number one went 4-3 ahead on his way to clinching the first set.
Murray had little trouble in the second, racing to a 4-0 lead before finally sealing the match four games later.
Nalbandian's outside chance of reaching Shanghai was ended by Murray's victory. Tomas Berdych is also out of the running after losing 6-4 6-2 to David Ferrer.
Second seed Rafael Nadal also advanced in straight sets, beating Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-4 6-3.
"I played a very good match today," Nadal said. "Stan was playing very aggressive tennis, but I feel very comfortable. I'm very happy with my level."