Berdych issues Murray warning
A review of the men's action on day seven of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
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Tomas Berdych served notice of his intent to Andy Murray and all the title favourites with a demolition of Julien Benneteau to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
There the Czech will play Stanislas Wawrinka, and if he gets past the ninth seed then a clash with third seed Murray is likely to await in the quarter-finals.
It was at that stage last year that Berdych shocked Roger Federer before a gale undermined his efforts to do the same to Murray in the semi-finals.
The 27-year-old is a man all the top players are wary of facing, and he beat Murray in the quarter-finals in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
Benneteau was the 31st seed but he had no answer to Berdych, the fifth seed racing to a 6-0 6-3 6-2 victory.
"Today it was good," said Berdych. "It was a bit hot, a bit humid, but otherwise the tennis was good.
"Finally I managed to stay focused from the first point until the last. I didn't have any ups and downs, I just took all the chances that I had."
Wawrinka had a much tougher time against Marcos Baghdatis, who has rediscovered his form after a terrible run between February and July where remarkably he lost 10 straight tour-level matches.
Wawrinka won the first two sets but Baghdatis responded in the third and had an early break in the fourth only for the Swiss to take the tie-break for a 6-3 6-2 6-7 (1/7) 7-6 (9/7) victory.
Wawrinka and Berdych have played each other 11 times, with the Swiss leading 6-5 having won four of their last five meetings.
Wawrinka said of Berdych: "He's a great player, a really strong, powerful player.
"It's always tough to play against him. Usually we had some great battles together. I need to adapt a little bit my game because he's so powerful.
"He's not really happy to play against me. He doesn't like my game. We practised a few times together. I know if I'm fit and if I play well, I have some chance."
Former champion Lleyton Hewitt continued his great run with a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 3-6 6-1 victory over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy.
After the dramatic nature of his five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round, this was rather less high profile as Hewitt was sent to Court 17.
But he ensured there was no comedown as he booked a spot in round four in New York for the first time since 2006.
Hewitt said: "It was a matter of still staying focused and staying in the moment as much as possible.
"I felt a little bit flat going out there. I actually felt like I got better as the match went on. That was a good sign physically for me as well."
A disastrous year at the grand slams for America's men was complete when Tim Smyczek lost a marathon third-round encounter against Marcel Granollers.
It is the first year ever that no American man has made the fourth round in singles at any slam and the first time ever at the US Open.
Wild card Smyczek had done very well just to get this far, and it is the likes of John Isner and Sam Querrey who have underachieved.
The US has an abundance of young female talent but is missing the retired Andy Roddick badly on the men's side, while former top-10 player Mardy Fish has been dogged by health problems for the last 18 months.
Smyczek looked like he would spare the blushes of the home nation when he moved 4-1 ahead in the fifth set and at one stage he was two points from victory but Granollers hung on and ground out a 6-4 4-6 0-6 6-3 7-5 win.
Next up for the Spaniard is a date with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Meanwhile, 12th seed Tommy Haas is out, the German falling 6-3 6-2 2-6 6-3 to volatile Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who plays Hewitt in the fourth round.