New York - Spain's David Ferrer reached his fourth Grand Slam quarter-final of 2012 on Tuesday when he beat Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in a rain-hit US Open last-16 tie which took over seven hours to complete.
But defending champion Novak Djokovic was left in limbo by the torrential rain which caused more than six hours to be lost from the programme, most of it from two lengthy delays which constantly pushed back the schedule.
The second-seeded Serb only had 10 minutes on court, which allowed him to take a 2-0 lead over Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in his fourth-round match.
Andy Roddick, the 2003 champion, who is playing in his last tournament before retirement, was into a first-set tie-break with 2009 winner Juan Martin Del Potro.
Serb eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic was 5-2 up on Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber when play was finally called off for the day at 02:30 (SA time).
The chaos meant that Djokovic was looking at possibly having to play on four of the remaining five days if he is to retain his title.
But with more rain expected on every day until Saturday, the prospect of the men's final being played on the third Monday for a fifth successive year was edging closer.
The rain was good news for Ferrer, who was safely into the last eight, and world number one Roger Federer, who hasn't played since Saturday, having enjoyed a walkover from Mardy Fish in his fourth-round tie.
Ferrer, the top-ranked Spaniard in New York in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal, saw off 13th-seeded Frenchman Gasquet in two hours and 54 minutes of playing time.
Fourth seed Ferrer will face either Serb eighth seed Tipsarevic or Kohlschreiber, the German 19th seed, for a place in the semi-finals.
"The rain made it very difficult," said Ferrer. "But the fans have been great and I wanted to win it for them."
Ferrer, who made the semi-finals in New York in 2007, said he was happy to let all the title talk involve Federer, Djokovic and British third seed Andy Murray.
"I don't care. That's normal. Djokovic and Murray and Federer, they deserve the attention because they are amazing players. So it's not a problem for me," he said.
"I'm trying do my best, do my best as possible."
The 30-year-old Ferrer took a 7-1 career lead over Gasquet into the last-16 tie, having also triumphed at the same stage at the Australian Open this year.
He made that 8-1 on a fifth match point on a damp and humid Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Ferrer was a semi-finalist in New York in 2007 and is currently enjoying one of his best years on tour with his five titles second only to the six won this year by Federer.
Results on Tuesday from the ninth day of the US Open (x denotes seeding):
David Ferrer (ESP x4) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x13) 7-5, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Suspended due to rain: scheduled to resume on Wednesday:
Andy Roddick (USA x20) leads Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x7) 6-6 (1/0)
Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x8) leads Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x19) 5-2
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) leads Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI x18) 2-0
Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez (ESP x6) bt Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares (AUT/BRA x15) 6-3, 6-4
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x7) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5)
Suspended due to rain: scheduled to resume Wednesday
Marion Bartoli (FRA x11) leads Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) 4-0
Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA x2) bt Julia Goerges/Kveta Peschke (GER/CZE x11) 6-2, 7-6 (7/2)