David Ferrer battled his way past Lleyton Hewitt to reach the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday while defending champion Novak Djokovic continued his New York stroll.
The second seed has looked in fine form at Flushing Meadows and he needed only an hour and 37 minutes to defeat Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3 6-2 6-2.
Benneteau is the 31st seed and the man who almost beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year but he could do nothing to threaten Djokovic. Spaniard Ferrer also secured his place in the fourth round by seeing off Hewitt 7-6 (11/9) 4-6 6-3 6-0
Serb Djokovic, who beat Rafael Nadal in the final last year, had been slightly off colour after losing to the Spaniard in the French Open final to see his hopes of four straight grand slam titles go up in smoke.
But he has hit form again on the north American hard courts, winning the title in Toronto and reaching the final in Cincinnati, and he made it only 14 games dropped in three rounds.
Benneteau simply could not live with Djokovic's power and precision from the back of the court and time and again found himself out-rallied as the Serb powered away 41 winners and made only 12 unforced errors.
Djokovic is not used to playing in the first match of the day, but there was certainly no lack of sharpness from the world number two.
Ferrer and Hewitt are possibly the game's two grittiest competitors and it was no surprise the match lasted for more than three hours.
Hewitt, the 2001 champion, needed a wild card to get into the tournament as he is still working his way back from foot surgery earlier this year but there are signs that he is rediscovering some of his old form.
The 31-year-old had five set points in the first set tie-break but Ferrer simply would not give in, setting up the set point he took with some incredible retrieving. Hewitt levelled but went an early break down in the third set and the five-setter he had against Gilles Muller in the previous round began to catch up with him as Ferrer rather ran away with it in the fourth.