Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer and third seed Novak Djokovic are through to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows after despatching their opponents in straight sets.
The Swiss world number two beat France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 39 minutes, while the Serbian knocked out American James Blake 6-1 7-6 6-3.
Such emphatic victories mean that each player’s price to win the Grand Slam event looks increasingly appetising.
Federer is 11/8 to claim the title he last won in 2008 with Djokovic a 10/1 price to repeat his hard-court success from the 2008 Australian Open.
Federer’s easy win continued his serene progress at the tournament and keeps him on course for a showdown with the man who ended his amazing Grand Slam streak.
The 29-year-old looks set to face Sweden’s Robin Soderling (16/1) in the quarter-finals, the player he lost to at the same stage of the French Open this year to end his run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances.
First up, though, is 13th-seed Jurgen Melzer, the Austrian whose lengthy odds of 150/1 to win in New York can partly be attributed to having to face the player with the most ever Grand Slam wins.
Indeed, given Federer is yet to drop a set, the match appears a foregone conclusion, with the Swiss 1/3 to win 3-0 again. That would be a repeat of the pair’s only previous meeting, at this year’s Wimbledon, also last-16 tie.
Meanwhile Djokovic, a runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2007 and a losing semi-finalist in the last two years, stormed past 30-year-old Blake to disappoint the home crowd inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 23-year-old now faces another American in Mardy Fish (33/1) as the 19th seed continued his impressive recent form with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-3 victory over France’s Arnaud Clement, his 19th win in his last 21 matches.
But Djokovic has won all four previous meetings with the 29-year-old, only dropping one set. The Serbian is 7/4 to win 3-0 and severely dent American fans’ hopes for a first home-soil winner of the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2003.
Djokovic has impressive form on hard courts and given Federer’s Grand Slam struggles this season, Andy Murray’s (11/4) failings at major events and Rafael Nadal’s (3/1) poor record at Flushing Meadows, it could be the Serb who triumphs.