World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams ruled supreme on Tuesday, sending ominous warnings to their rivals with dazzling, runaway victories over Spanish opponents at the US Open.
Djokovic said he played some of his best tennis on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in trouncing Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, and Williams could not have done better, handing Carla Suarez Navarro a 6-0, 6-0 beating at the National Tennis Center.
Djokovic said his game was clicking just as planned.
“Today, the second and third set have been some of the best tennis that I’ve played on Arthur Ashe in my career,” said Djokovic, who won the title in 2011 and was a finalist last year and in 2007.
“I was wishing to be more aggressive as the tournament progresses,” added the Serb, who won the first 25 points on his serve and 28 of 30 points he contested at the net.
Djokovic moved into the quarterfinals against Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, who ended the magical run of 2001 US Open winner Lleyton Hewitt by escaping a 1-4 hole in the fourth set and a 2-5 stranglehold in the fifth.
Youzhny won 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5 win. Youzhny, the 21st seed, took pride in outbattling renowned fighter Hewitt in the nearly four-hour match.
“I know he’s a great player and he’s great fighting player, who is fighting for every point, every match.
“For me, this way that I beat him today, it’s really important,” he said.
Dominant performances are not out of the ordinary for those rankings leaders.
But fifth-seeded Na Li provided something special by breaking another barrier for Chinese tennis.
The 31-year-old Li became China’s first semifinalist ever at the US Open by beating Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 at a windy Flushing Meadows.
Li pumped both fists in joy after 24th seed Makarova sailed a backhand long to end the two-hour, 20-minute match at Arthur Ashe Stadium as the crowd showered her with cheers.
“For me, this is the first time to come to the semifinals, so I’m very proud of myself,” said Li, who looked about to claim victory in two sets after winning the first three points of the tiebreaker but was extended to a third set.
The US Open had been the last Grand Slam where Chinese women had stalled before reaching the final four.
Li smashed 44 winners against just 15 for 25-year-old Makarova, though the Chinese struggled with eight double faults.
But Li will not have too long to revel in her achievement as the win set up a semifinal date with defending champion Williams.
Defending men’s champion Andy Murray of Britain worked hard to get past 65th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
The lone upset by rankings was registered by ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who ousted fifth seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(6), 6-2.
Wawrinka, who has now won five of his last six matches against Berdych, advanced to a quarterfinal clash with Murray. Earlier, women’s second seed Victoria Azarenka overcame Ana Ivanovic, the 13th seed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to complete the women’s quarterfinals field after their contest was postponed from Monday due to nearly five hours of rain delays.
Azarenka will play unseeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the last eight.