Five-time champion Roger Federer defied 32-degree Celsius heat and crushing humidity to reach the US Open last 16, as potential semi-final rival Andy Murray almost wilted in the New York sweatshop.
Top seed Federer, bidding to be the first six-time winner in 87 years, defeated Spanish 25th seed Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in a shade over two hours to make the last 16 for the 12th successive year.
The Swiss star next faces either American 23rd seed Mardy Fish or Gilles Simon, the French 16th seed.
In stark contrast, third-seeded Murray, the 2008 US Open runner-up to Federer, needed almost four hours to clinch a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) victory over 30th-seeded Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez.
Murray will next face 15th-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, who beat American James Blake in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3).
The British player, four times a Grand Slam runner-up, had lost only one set in six prior matches against Lopez but had to come back from trailing in all three tie-breakers on Sunday (AEST).
Federer only faced one break point against Verdasco, a player he has now defeated five times in five meetings.
"I was never really in big trouble on my service games," he said.
"The heat and wind weren't really a problem, but Fernando keeps you guessing, he's a great shot-maker."
Murray's 250th career match victory on hard courts, and his seventh in seven meetings with Lopez, came when the Spaniard netted a backhand.
"This was the first match I had played in this humidity for a while so it was tough," Murray said.
"I would like to be in slightly better form but these matches have helped with that."
Eleventh seed Nicolas Almagro kept Spanish hopes alive when he reached the fourth round for the first time with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 win over American wildcard Jack Sock.
Almagro will face Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych for a place in the last eight, after Berdych survived a four-set tussle with American 27th seed Sam Querrey 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Croatian 12th seed Marin Cilic, a quarter-finalist in 2009, ended Asian hopes in the singles when he ousted Japanese 17th seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3.
Cilic will next face unseeded Slovak Martin Klizan, who beat doubles partner Jeremy Chardy, the French 32nd seed, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
American Mardy Fish defeated 16th seed Gilles Simon 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in an entertaining late-night battle on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
AFPTags: sport, tennis, united-states First posted September 02, 2012 08:59:26