New York:Third-seeded Novak Djokovic outlasted Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (2) on Friday, prevailing in the equal-longest US Open singles match in the fifth-set tiebreak era.
"I am totally exhausted. No energy," Djokovic said. "I smell my shoes - they are so stinky."
They played 63 games, 356 points and played 4 hours, 44 minutes, drawing several standing ovations along the way.
"I'm doing fine," Stepanek said, "but I lost."
It was another super day for Djokovic's Serbia, too, with No 3 Jelena Jankovic and No 5 Ana Ivanovic reaching the women's fourth round.
Another Serb, Janko Tipsarevic, though, stopped because of an injured rib muscle while losing 6-2, 6-3, 3-2 against No 2 Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard's bothersome knees were not a problem in the second round the way they were in the first, and he now meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who ended six-time major semifinalist Tim Henman's Grand Slam career by beating the Brit in four sets.
"I'm not 100 per cent yet ... but so much better," Nadal said. "I play better, too. I feel more comfortable."
Easy for Venus
Ivanovic earned another shot at Venus Williams, who beat her in the Wimbledon semifinals en route to the title. Two-time US Open champion Williams was never really challenged Friday night in a 6-1, 6-2 victory over No 21 Alona Bondarenko.
Serena Williams took a while to find her rhythm before downing No 27 Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-4, 7-6 (4). The two-time Open champion clinched it on her fourth match point in the tiebreaker.
Serena Williams was bothered by the chair umpire's insistence that she put away a little notebook with handwritten reminders.
"I was like, 'Well, it's not like I'm Harry Potter, and my dad can magically give me notes to read,'" she said. "It's something that I write myself. Just little things."
Her opponent will be Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli, while No 1 Justine Henin next plays No 15 Dinara Safina, who beat Ahsha Rolle of the United States 6-4, 6-3.
Safina's older brother, the 25th-seeded Marat Safin, didn't put up much of a fight in a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 loss to Stanislas Wawrinka. Safin then was reminded that Pete Sampras predicted the Russian would spend many years at No 1 after winning the 2000 US Open.
"Even the geniuses make mistakes," Safin said.
Wawrinka now meets 2005 semifinalist Robby Ginepri of the United States. Another American, Mardy Fish, led No 8 Tommy Robredo 4-1 in the fifth set before dropping the last five games and the match, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4.
Fish's explanation? "I froze," he said.
Henin needed only 50 minutes to clock another qualifier, Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-0, 6-2. Chances are the 2003 U.S. Open champ knew exactly how long it took.
The Belgian wears a wristwatch during matches.
"I cannot live without my watch," she said. "I never saw another player playing with a watch. But I always keep my watch. I sleep with that. I take my shower. Everything."
Henin shook off recent shoulder trouble, won the first 10 games and approached the net more often than usual in breezing into the fourth round with a 6-0 6-2 win over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
Henin beat her third straight opponent from outside the top 100. Not that she worried about getting a vigorous warmup.
"A big part of my success is that I've always been very focused on myself in the last few years," Henin said. "Don't look too much on the other side of the net."
Along with Safin, another former champion, 2001 winner Lleyton Hewitt, also lost. The Australian was upset by 58th-ranked Agustin Calleri 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-2.
Advancing on the men's side were No 17 Carlos Moya of Spain, and No 20 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina.
On the women's side, No 19 Sybille Bammer of Austria beat No 14 Elena Dementieva of Russia 6-1, 6-2.