Djokovic races into last eight, Youzhny downs Hewitt
World number one Novak Djokovic raced into the US Open quarter-finals, where he will face explosive Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who staged two stunning comebacks Tuesday to beat 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Top seeded Djokovic, the 2011 champion, wrapped up a place in his 18th successive Grand Slam quarter-final when he crushed Spanish world number 43 Marcel Granollers, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 in just 79 minutes.
Russian 21st seed Youzhny, a semi-finalist in 2006 and 2010, carved out a four-hour, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5 win over Hewitt after trailing 4-1 in the fourth set and 5-2 in the fifth.
Djokovic, bidding to make the final for a fourth successive year, hit 34 winners and faced just one break point against Granollers, one of four Spaniards in the last 16.
But Granollers' challenge had already been fatally undermined by having played three five-set matches and spending almost 10 hours on court, twice as long as Djokovic, who has yet to lose a set.
"I definitely played one of the best matches that I've played in my life here at the Arthur Ashe Stadium," Djokovic said after winning the last 15 games of the one-sided tie.
"It was 3-all in the first set and then I managed to get the right advantage and I played flawless tennis."
He also won the first 25 points in a row on his serve to start the match.
"This is probably the first time I've experienced something like that. I can't say I have one of the strongest serves on the tour but I served pretty well."
On the same Louis Armstrong court which had swallowed up five-time champion Roger Federer the day before, Youzhny celebrated just his second win in seven meetings over Hewitt.
The 32-year-old Hewitt, the oldest man left in the tournament, was bidding to make the last-eight in New York for the first time since 2006, having defeated 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round.
But he was left to rue his failure to serve out the match at 5-3 in the decider after having recovered from losing the first set and being a break down in the second.
"It could have gone either way. There were lots of changes in momentum. It was hard for both of us to hold serve but he played the big games when he needed to," said Hewitt.
"He didn't give many cheap errors. I left it all out there. I don't have any regrets."
Youzhny, who famously defeated Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in 2006, hit 47 winners while committing 63 unforced errors with Hewitt, now the world number 66, finishing with 55 winners and 54 unforced errors.
However, he served up nine double faults at crucial times in his 200th Grand Slam match, which proved a dramatic affair with even a 46-shot rally being exchanged in the third set.
"It was a great atmosphere and a joy to play. I fought back in the fourth and fifth sets because I didn't want to be heading home just yet," said 31-year-old Youzhny, who takes a 3-5 record against Djokovic into his quarter-final.
"The crowd wasn't against me but for Lleyton. It gave me power to keep coming back.
"Lleyton is a great player. When he is on the court he always fights. He's still a top player and can beat top players like Del Potro. It was very tough for me to beat him for just the second time."
Later Tuesday, defending champion Andy Murray, the third seed, tackles unseeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, the world number 65, who has never beaten a top 10 player in six attempts.
Fifth seeded Czech Tomas Berdych trails Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-5 ahead of their last-16 clash.
Berdych made the semi-finals in 2012 after knocking out Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.