Novak Djokovic weathered a gallant challenge from a tenacious Lleyton Hewitt to send the last Australian in the draw packing and make the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday.
While most at the packed Rod Laver Arena hoped for a boilover, few expected it to materialise but 30-year-old Hewitt rode the crowd's emotion to poach a set off the world number one before going down fighting 6-1 6-3 4-6 6-3.
Dressed in black and prowling panther-like across the baseline, Djokovic was in no mood for sentiment as he motored through the first two sets.
Coasting at 3-0 up in the third set, Djokovic stumbled on serve to allow the gritty Australian to fight back then take the match to a fourth after the Serb netted on set point.
Djokovic captured the decisive break at 3-2 in the fourth and sealed the match with a booming backhand down the line. The top seed will play David Ferrer in the quarterfinals.