Defending men's champion Marin Cilic, two-time winner Rafa Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the US Open with straight sets wins as the temperatures and stakes continue to rise at the year's final grand slam.
Djokovic took a while to warm up against Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer but shifted into gear to close out the first set and then raced to a 6-4 6-1 6-2 win.
World number one Djokovic, who lost only three games in his opening-round victory, led 5-4 in an indifferent first set that went with serve before suddenly snapping into focus to break the Austrian to love.
Flicking winners off his forehand and burying backhands deep into corners, the Serb dropped only three more games as he sailed to victory and a place in the third round.
The reigning Australian and Wimbledon champion registered 27 winners and did not face a single break point in his demolition of 28-year-old Haider-Maurer, a winner of nine career Challenger titles but none on the ATP World Tour.
|Djokovic is looking for a third Grand Slam of the year [AP]
Djokovic is trying to claim his third grand slam singles title of the year and the 28-year-old Serb could not be blamed for thinking he is due for another U.S. title to add to his 2011 trophy.
Four other times (2013, 2012, 2010, 2007) he has been runner-up at Flushing Meadows and reached the semi-finals three other times.
After playing his opening match on an outside court, Cilic took his U.S. Open title defence back to a sweltering Arthur Ashe Stadium and looked right at home, storming into the third round with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 win over Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy.
During last year's magical run Cilic was invincible on the main court, sweeping past Tomas Berdych in the quarters, taking out Roger Federer in three sets in the semi-finals and Kei Nishikori in a one-sided final.
Two-time champion Nadal got his second-round contest off to a sluggish start but the eighth seeded Spaniard was quickly in control, dispatching Diego Schwartzman 7-6 6-3 7-5 as the Argentine saw his record against top 10 opponents drop to 0-6.
After a first round littered with upsets, second round action went largely according to script as Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer beat Serb Filip Krajinovic 7-5 7-5 7-6(4) and Canadian 10th seed Milos Raonic fought off back pain to beat Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(1).
1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Andreas Haider-Maurer (Austria) 6-4 6-1 6-2
10-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(1)
9-Marin Cilic (Croatia) beat Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) 6-2 6-3 7-5
32-Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) 6-3 6-4 6-4
18-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) beat Mardy Fish (U.S.) 2-6 6-3 1-6 7-5 6-3
7-David Ferrer (Spain) beat Filip Krajinovic (Serbia) 7-5 7-5 7-6(4)
27-Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Martin Klizan (Slovakia) 7-5 6-4 7-6(1)
25-Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) 3-6 6-3 7-6(3) 6-1
19-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) beat Marcel Granollers (Spain) 6-3 6-4 6-3
Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) beat 17-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 6-3 7-6(2) 2-6 4-6 6-4
8-Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5