New York: World number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams stormed through their respective US Open matches on Tuesday.
Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam winner seeking her fifth US crown and her ninth title of the year, dispatched 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-0, in 52 minutes on the Spaniard’s 25th birthday to reach the women’s semifinals, while Djokovic, the 2011 champion, wrapped up a place in his 18th successive Grand Slam quarterfinal when he crushed Spanish world number 43 Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-0, 6-0.
Defending champion Andy Murray, however, was again involved in a four-set duel.
The third-seeded Scot, reached the quarters for a third successive year with a 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Denis Istomin, the 64th-ranked Uzbek.
Djokovic will next tackle Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny, a semifinalist in 2006 and 2010, over whom he has an 5-3 career lead.
Youzhny carved out a four-hour, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5 win over 2001 champion Lleyon Hewitt after trailing 4-1 in the fourth set and 5-2 in the fifth.
Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka reached the last eight by eliminating Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych, a semifinalist last year, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Wawrinka will now face Murray for a place in the last four, trailing 8-5 in their series, although he did win their 2010 US Open third-round meeting.
In other women’s matches, Li Na had to fight off nerves to battle her way into the final four.
The 2011 French Open champion, overcame nervous feelings for a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory over Russian 24th seed Ekaterina Makarova.
She will now face Williams in a semifinal showdown.
Either Williams or Li, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, would become the oldest women’s champion in US Open history at age 31 with a triumph in Sunday’s championship match.
At least one other over-30 semi-finalist is assured, matching Wimbledon in 1994 with three over-30 players in the last four, a record that would fall if 48th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova upsets Belarus second seed Victoria Azarenka in a Wednesday quarterfinal.
Two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka reached the last eight by beating Serbian 13th seed Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match postponed from Monday due to rain.
Azarenka, who lost to Williams in last year’s US Open final, has split four career matches with Hantuchova.
Azarenka, a semifinalist in five of the past seven Grand Slams, defeated world number one Williams in the final at Cincinnati in the last big US Open tune-up event, securing her role as the main threat to Williams’ reign.
Meanwhile, Leander Paes along with his Czech partner Radek Stepanek entered the men’s doubles semifinals.
The two veterans, seeded fourth, got past fifth seeds Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-4 at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.
The Indo-Czech pair face the familiar combination of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the semifinals.
The top seeds from the USA beat Britain’s Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray 7-6 (7), 6-4 in another quarterfinal.
Paes has won the US Open twice, in 2006 and 2009 while finishing runner-up four times. Paes and Stepanek lost the 2012 US Open final to the Bryan brothers. (Agencies)