Defending champion Novak Djokovic stormed into a sixth successive US Open semi-final on Thursday with a breathtaking 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 demolition of 2009 winner Juan Martin Del Potro.
The second-seeded Serb is bidding to win a sixth Grand Slam title and is now the comfortable tournament favourite following the elimination of World No 1 Roger Federer.
He goes on to face Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who defeated Serb eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), for a place in Sunday’s final.
Saturday’s other semi-final sees third seed Andy Murray face Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Australian Open champion Djokovic took his career record over Argentina’s Del Potro, who beat him for Olympic bronze last month, to 6-2 as he marched into a 10th successive major semi-final.
“I love playing night sessions but this was much closer than the scoreline suggests. Juan Martin is a great player and I was lucky in the second set,” said Djokovic.
Djokovic defends an 8-5 record against Ferrer.
“It will be another big battle. David has been one of the most consistent players over the last six, seven years but few people ever talk about him. I will have to be very competitive,” said the champion.
Del Potro admitted Djokovic had out-played him.
“He is playing better and better. I had the chance to take the second set but he played the important points well. He was just too much for me,” said the Argentine.
Djokovic looked the fresher at the start on a humid Thursday night on Arthur Ashe Stadium, racing through the first set with breaks in the fourth and eighth games. But seventh seed Del Potro, who sent Andy Roddick into retirement in the previous round, soon rallied, winning 10 straight points on his way to a 2-0 lead in the second set.
He served for the set at 5-4 but that was the cue for Djokovic to light up the night with his deadly returning power and iron-willed defence.
A gruelling 26-shot rally gave the World No 2 break point, which he converted to 5-5. In an 18-minute 12th game, Del Potro saved three set points before he wilted in the tie-breaker.
In Set Three, Del Potro down 0-2, and though he fought off two break points in the fifth game, Djokovic claimed victory when the Argentine buried a drive into the net.