World number one Novak Djokovic is safely through to the semi-finals of the US Open for the seventh year running after beating Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
The 26-year-old Serb dropped his first (third) set against a determined Youzhny who managed to extend the game over two hours and 34 minutes.
“He is a fighter and a real competitor, he can be a very tricky opponent in the wind but I played really well in all the match apart from that third set,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic goes on to face Stanislas Wawrinka in Saturday’s semi-final after the Swiss ninth seed earlier knocked out defending champion Andy Murray.
“It is going to be a very close match against Stan, I don’t think there is a clear favourite, but I feel quite confident on court and hopefully I can carry on the same way.”
Djokovic looked on course to make a short work to his 14th successive Grand Slam semi-final, winning the first and second set in a comfortable manner, but the 31-year-old Russian would not give up his chance for a third US Open semis without a fight.
Youzhny stormed into a 4-1 lead in the deciding set and held off a Djokovic fightback when the Serb double-faulted to hand over a second break.
The 2011 champion made a surprise 16 unforced errors in the third set but stepped up the intensity in the fourth. He left Youzhny helpless in the face of ten winners, reeling off the last six games and securing victory with a forehand deep into the corner.
“It was important to get the early break in the fourth. I have done that and after that I really felt a big relief on the court and just went for my shots and played great,” Djokovic added.