Czech dangerman Tomas Berdych stayed on course for a possible quarterfinal clash with defending champion Andy Murray when he cruised into the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday.
The fifth seed made light work of 31st-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 54 minutes on the Grandstand court at Flushing Meadows.
Berdych, who is yet to drop a set in this edition, will play Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka after the ninth seed squeezed past Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(1), 7-6(7).
The big-serving Berdych upset 17-time major champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at the US Open last year before losing to Murray in four sets in the semifinals.
Nadal, Federer progress
On Saturday, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer cruised into the fourth round. The Spanish second seed Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, stretched his career-best hard-court win streak to 18 by beating 38th-ranked Croatian Ivan Dodig, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
Federer, seeking his 18th Grand Slam title and sixth US Open crown, fired eight aces and 34 winners to cruise past 63rd-ranked French left-hander Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.
Next up for Federer, in his lowest Grand Slam seeding since 2002 at seventh, will be Spanish 19th seed Tommy Robredo, who has lost all 10 matches he has played against the Swiss star, the past four in Grand Slams.
“We have a similar game. We both have a one-handed backhand,” Federer said.
“He is mentally tough, physically tough. I’m prepared for a tough match as usual.”
Nadal, who completed a career Grand Slam with his 2010 US Open crown but missed last year’s Open with knee injuries, has won nine titles since returning in February from a seven-month layoff.
Nadal, who is 56-3 this year and has held serve 37 times without fail over three matches, took command early, connecting on 65 per cent of his first serves and 37 winners.
Next up for Nadal will be 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who ousted US 13th seed John Isner.
Victoria Azarenka, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final, outlasted French 26th seed Alize Cornet 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-2.
“The first set Alize played really well and I made too many mistakes,” said Azarenka. “In the second set I started to take advantage of my opportunities and that made the difference.”
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, fought their way into the men’s doubles quarterfinals, while Sania Mirza and Jie Zheng hardly broke a sweat to book a berth in the women’s doubles last-eight pair stage.
Paes and his Czech partner, seeded fourth, had to battle for two hours and 12 minutes to overcome 14th seeded veteran French pair of Michael Llodra and Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Sania and China’s Zheng, seeded 10th, took out sixth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Kveta Peschke of Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 12 minutes.
Sania and Zheng never faced break points in the match and broke their rivals twice in each set.
Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who are seeded sixth, got the better of Russians Nikolay Davydenko and Mikhail Elgin 7-6(2), 7-6(0) in another evenly-contested match.