Novak Djokovic wore down the tenacious but battle-weary Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets to power into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.
The exciting young Serbian third seed produced the full array of his blinding groundstrokes to sink the challenge of the 2005 finalist, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours 26 minutes.
Djokovic, one of the brightest talents in the men's game and possibly just a match away from playing top seed Roger Federer in the semi-finals, will take on Spain's fifth seed David Ferrer in Wednesday's quarter-finals.
It was Hewitt's first straight sets loss at the Australian Open since the fourth round of the 2000 event.
"Lleyton plays his best tennis here in the Australian Open, he was very motivated this year to win it and he had some tough matches and he was a break up in the first set," Djokovic said.
"I managed to come back and I was very nervous.
"The first set was luck and afterwards I relaxed and tried to be aggressive and take control of the match which I did.
"He made a couple of unforced errors and he was very tired and exhausted from the Baghdatis match a few nights ago, so I used my opportunity."
Hewitt was backing up after his monumental five-set loss to Marcos Baghdatis which had the latest finish in Grand Slam history -- 4:33am (1733 GMT) Sunday.
The Australian slept for most on Sunday to recover while Djokovic had the benefit of complete rest for his fourth round blockbuster.
The Serb has advanced to the quarters without dropping a set in his four matches and stretched his winning streak on hardcourt to eight matches.
He is only the second Serbian to reach the Australian quarter-finals in the Open Era (post 1968), following Slobodan Zivojinovic who went on to reach the semi-finals when the Open was played on grass at Kooyong.
The 20-year-old last year reached the semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon and finished runner-up to Federer at the US Open where he squandered seven set points in the first two sets on the way to a straight sets loss in the final.
Djokovic didn't have the best of starts against Hewitt and was under pressure on serve and went down a break in the sixth game.
But he broke back in the eighth game after holding three break points and claimed the opening set with his second service break in the 12th, ending a hour's struggle.
Djokovic began to find his form in the second set after missing with his forehand and he recovered after dropping his serve in the third to break Hewitt twice.
The young Serb was given a time violation warning after winning a long rally to hold serve and lead 5-2.
He produced a sensational running pick-up off a Hewitt drop-shot on set-point to take a two-love lead.
It got no better for Hewitt, who dropped his opening service in the third set with Djokovic in full cry.
He again broke the tiring Australian in the seventh game, but the never-say-die Hewitt saved two match points and broke back.
But Djokovic wrapped it up in the ninth on his third match point.