Janko Tipsarevic steamed into the last eight of the US Open on Monday, where a clash with celebrated fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic could await.
Tipsarevic, 27, reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, prevailing in a baseline battle against former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-5, 6-2.
Twenty aces made the difference for Tipsarevic, the last coming on his first match point against the 31-year-old Spaniard who has been slowed by a litany of injuries and dropped to 105 in the world.
After the first three sets averaged more than an hour apiece, the fourth set lasted barely more than half that as Tipsarevic pulled away from a clearly flagging Ferrero.
Tipsarevic next faces either top seed Djokovic or Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Dolgopolov is enjoying the best year of his career, notching a first title at Umag and reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open.
His career year, however, can't compare with that of Djokovic, who has built a 60-2 record and won nine titles, including not only two Grand Slams but also five elite ATP Masters crowns as he surged to number one.
Even so, Djokovic said he would be wary.
"He's very aggressive," Djokovic said of Dolgopolov, ranked 23. "He's moving quite lightly all over the court. He has a pretty big serve, a good forehand, mixing up the pace. He's a tough player."
In other last 16 matches, third-seeded Roger Federer, seeking to stretch a streak of eight straight years with at least one Grand Slam crown, tackled Argentinian Davis Cup stalwart Juan Monaco and eighth-seeded Mardy Fish, the top American in the men's field, took on flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Fish and Tsonga both reached the last 16 without dropping a set.
Monaco, ranked 36, was trying to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, but Federer predicted a physical bout against the "tough customer" from Argentina.
"He works the ball like all South Americans do, and he's got good grit and he's battling on every single point," Federer said.