NEW YORK, Sept 7: World number one Novak Djokovic reached his 26th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final but only after surviving a US Open scare against Spain�s Roberto Bautista Agut.
The 2011 champion won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 last night to set-up a clash against Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in what will also be his ninth US Open last-eight place in a row.
Djokovic gave up a 4-2 lead in the second set and saw an early break clawed back in the fourth by the 23rd seeded Agut, a former junior footballer with Villarreal in Spain.
The Serb was also broken when serving for the match at 5-2 as Agut unleashed a barrage of deep, murderous forehands before steadying himself to claim his 60th win of the year.
Lopez, 33, reached his first US Open quarter-final at the 14th attempt with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 win over Italy�s Fabio Fognini, the conqueror of Rafael Nadal in the previous round.
Lopez, the 18th seed, said Djokovic will hold the cards having won all of the pair�s five meetings.
The Spanish left-hander has only ever taken one set off Djokovic and that was in their first meeting at the 2007 Australian Open.
Lopez had put out 10th seed Milos Raonic in the third round after having been just four points away from defeat against Mardy Fish in the second round.
But he was rarely threatened by Fognini, breaking in the fourth game of the first set and then coming back from 3-1 down in the second.
Fognini, the 32nd seed and bidding to become the first Italian to reach the last eight in a decade, required a medical timeout on a back injury at the end of the set.
At 3-0 down in the third, he needed an inhaler to regulate his breathing before he went on to drop serve again in the sixth game.
Defending champion Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga set-up Tuesday�s other quarter-final clash.
Cilic made the last eight for the fourth time with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) 6-1 win over France�s Jeremy Chardy.
Cilic, the Croatian ninth seed, took his record in New York to 11 successive wins after capturing his maiden Grand Slam title in the city last year.
But the 26-year-old had to overcome an injury scare in the second set to stay alive in the tournament when he rolled his right ankle.
Cilic fired 23 aces and 52 winners in his win.
French 19th seed Tsonga reached his second New York quarter-final with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over unseeded compatriot Benoit Paire, the man who opened up the draw by knocking out fourth seed Kei Nishikori in the first round.
The 30-year-old Tsonga has now held all 56 service games at the tournament. � AFP