New York :Saying he is playing his best tennis of the year and gaining confidence with every match, Novak Djokovic has moved within a victory of a fourth consecutive trip to the US Open semi-finals.
The Serbian third seed advanced Monday by eliminating US 19th seed Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-4, 6-1, and will play for a berth in the final four against French 17th seed Gael Monfils, who ousted countryman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5, 7-5.
Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open champion, said that his best Grand Slam showing of 2010 has come on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.
"This is as well as I've played this year," he said. "I'm happy with the way things are moving on for me. It's a very encouraging fact at this stage of the tournament that I'm raising my game and feeling more comfortable on the court."
Djokovic was the 2007 US Open runner-up and lost in the semi-finals the past two years, all three defeats coming to 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer, a potential semi-final opponent again this year.
Making deep Slam runs has raised expectations for the speedy Serb and made for a tougher challenge to find consistency.
"You're getting into tournaments as someone who is expected to win most of his matches and getting to the late stage of the second week, so that's something you have to deal with," Djokovic said.
"It's a challenge you have to overcome and it makes you mentally strong. I learned over the past year and a half how to deal with it and just be happy with the process."
Djokovic's drubbing of Fish convinced the American that the Serbian star will add to his lone Grand Slam title.
"He puts a lot of pressure on you with his movement. He's top-three fastest guys as far as his movement is concerned," Fish said.
"It's very hard to win a winner from the baseline. It's very hard to get him on defense. You can't really rely on much as far as a game plan against him. He returns so well. He can go through stretches where he can serve as well as anyone. He's probably in the top two or three as far as return games won.
"There are just not many holes there to try to figure out. His record speaks for itself. I'm sure in no time he will win more Grand Slams."
No time is what he might have against the fleet-footed Monfils, even though the Frenchman is 0-4 against Djokovic.
Monfils pushed Djokovic to five sets in the first round of the 2005 US Open, three sets at a 2008 Beijing Olympic quarter-final and a third-set tie-breaker before losing last year's Paris indoor final.
"He's very charismatic, very athletic. He slides a lot," Djokovic said. "There's going to be a lot of sliding between him and me more than tennis."