Strong contenders Levon Aronian, Vassily Ivanchuk and Ding Liren reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

Ivanchuk, following his surprise victory over higher-rated Anish Giri, squeezed out a much-needed draw following perpetual checks after 49 moves. Aronian battled for 97 moves to complete a hard-earned victory over Russia’s Daniil Dubov and Ding Liren defeated his Chinese compatriot Wang Hao in 57 moves.

The quarterfinal clash involving Aronian and Ivanchuk is expected to be the most followed encounter once the other five quarterfinalists are decided on Thursday following tie-break games.

The results:

Pre-quarterfinals (Game Two): Levon Aronian (Arm, 1.5) bt Danill Dubov (Rus, 0.5); Anish Giri (Ned, 0.5) drew with Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukr, 1.5); Alexander Grischuk (Rus, 1) drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra, 1); Bu Xiangzhi (Chn, 1) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus, 1); Baadur Jobava (Geo, 1) drew with Wesley So (USA, 1); Ding Lirin (Chn, 1.5) bt Wang Hao (Chn, 0.5); Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 1) lost to Maxim Rodshtein (Isr, 1); Evgeniy Najer (Rus, 1) drew with Richard Rapport (Hun, 1).