Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray stayed on course for a mouth-watering US Open quarter-final showdown Saturday as five-time women’s champion Serena Williams stood alone as America’s last singles title hope.
But as the heavyweights of the sport eased into the fourth round, the women’s draw was blown open again when Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the fifth top 10 seed to exit in the first week.
Kvitova’s misery was shared by American tennis after John Isner and Sam Querrey were both knocked out in the third round leaving the hosts still without a men’s Grand Slam champion since Andy Roddick triumphed in New York in 2003.
Djokovic, the 2011 champion, brushed aside Querrey for the eighth time in nine meetings, with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win taking the world number one into the fourth round at a major for the 22nd consecutive time.
“Sam is big server, very powerful. But he doesn’t move that well so I wanted to keep him moving around the court, mix up the pace and get as many returns as possible back,” said Djokovic after an 85-minute win which was never in doubt from the time he raced into a 5-0 lead in the first set.
Wimbledon champion and seven-time major winner Djokovic will next face Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber who ended US hopes with a 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/4) win over Isner despite the American 13th seed firing 42 aces and 77 winners.
It was the third successive year that Kohlschreiber had defeated Isner in the third round.
“It’s a disappointment for me personally, not the United States as a whole,” said Isner.
Williams racked up her 75th victory at the US Open when she eased past her third successive American compatriot, Uzbekistan-born left-hander Varvara Lepchenko, 6-3, 6-3 and will tackle tough Estonian Kaia Kanepi for a quarter-final berth.