US Open 2013: Rivals warned as Novak Djokovic produces 'some of the best tennis that I've played in my career' to reach quarter-finals

World number one dropped just four games against Marcel Granollers

Novak Djokovic sent a warning to his US Open title rivals with a performance he rated as one of the best of his career.

The world number one dropped only four games in his third-round win over Joao Sousa and was even more emphatic this time, winning the final 13 games of the match to beat Marcel Granollers 6-3 6-0 6-0 in just 79 minutes.

Spaniard Granollers had been taken to five sets in the first three rounds so it was perhaps not surprising he could not give Djokovic a better match.

The Serb has been working on his net play and that was one of several notable statistics, Djokovic winning 28 of 30 points at the net.

His serve is also in good shape and he won the first 25 points on his own delivery, losing just eight in the match.

Djokovic said: "I had some great matches in the past that I can compare with this one, but definitely the second and third sets were some of the best tennis that I've played on Arthur Ashe in my career.

"It all comes at a great time for me. It was something I was wishing, to be more aggressive as the tournament progresses and to be able to stay committed to play every point, to win every point, regardless of the score.

"So I'm very happy with my mental state, how I feel physically, and the way I played. It's definitely coming at the best possible time."

It could not have been more different to Monday evening, when Roger Federer crashed out of the tournament against Tommy Robredo and Rafael Nadal needed more than three hours to see off Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Federer was a shadow of his former self, but Djokovic has urged the critics to lay off.

The Serb said: "People need to give him a break a little bit because I think it's normal to expect that he's not moving as well as he did when he was number one and he was so dominant.

"For me, he's still playing really well and he definitely, with his tennis, deserves to be one of the top five players in the world, no question about it."

Djokovic's next opponent, Russian Mikhail Youzhny, may also be running low on energy after a thrilling five-set win over Lleyton Hewitt.

The Australian, the champion in New York 12 years ago, had rolled back the years with a stunning win over Juan Martin del Potro in the second round and looked set to reach his first grand slam quarter-final for four years.

Hewitt led 4-1 in the fourth set only for Youzhny to win six straight games and lead by a break in the decider.

Back came 32-year-old Hewitt to lead 5-2 but he played a poor game serving for the match and Youzhny reeled off five straight games to clinch a 6-3 3-6 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 7-5 victory after three hours and 58 minutes.

Youzhny is only a year younger than Hewitt but the two veterans covered every inch of Louis Armstrong court, with the crowd being treated to some stunning rallies.

The Russian is a consistent performer at grand slams and has twice reached the semi-finals at the US Open - in 2006, when he beat Rafael Nadal, and 2010.

Hewitt was philosophical in defeat, saying: "Obviously it could have gone either way. There were a lot of momentum changes right from the start.

"It was hard for both of us to hold our serves at times. In the end, he played the big games when he needed to. He didn't give me too many cheap errors.

"It's obviously disappointing to lose but I left it all out there. There's not a whole heap more I could have done."

Hewitt's disappointment was certainly tempered by satisfaction at the way he is playing.

The Australian underwent radical toe surgery on his left foot at the start of last year that numerous surgeons had told him would finish his career.

Instead of giving in, he found a surgeon who believed he could play again and has been working hard to rediscover something like his old form.

Hewitt added: "It obviously gives me a lot of confidence. It would have been great to have won."

Youzhny hailed the manner of his victory as a real shot in the arm.

The Russian 21st seed said: "Of course I'm happy because I've played many matches against Lleyton and I had beaten him only once.

"I know that he's a great player and he's a great fighter who is fighting for every point in every match.

"For me, the way that I beat him today, it's really important."



Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent