New York - South African doubles exponent Raven Klaasen is one match away from reaching his first United States Open quarter-final -- and with it a possible breakthrough into the world's top 20 doubles rankings.
Klaasen and his American partner, Eric Butorac, beat Robert Lindstedt and Jurgen Melzer 6-7 (5) 6-2 1-0 in the second round after the Swedish-Austrian pairing were forced to retire through injury.
It was sweet revenge for the South African-US duo, with Lindstedt and his partner having accounted for Klaasen and Butorac in the Australian Open grand slam doubles final earlier in the year.
Klaasen and Butorac now face the scratch pairing of Guillermo Garcia Lopez, who is better known for his singles achievements, and little-known Austrian Phillipp Oswald in the third round and will be strongly favoured to win this match and reach the quarter-finals.
Currently ranked 23rd in the world in doubles and with a current career-best position of 22nd in the world, entry into the quarter-finals will almost certainly take the 31-year-old Klaasen into a top 20 place when the next ATP rankings are released after the US Open.
Klaasen has already assured an improvement in his overall points tally for the last 12 months after bowing out in the first round of the US Open last year in the first round.
Victory over Garcia Lopez and Oswald will in all likelihood result in a match-up against third-seeded Daniel Nestor, an eight-times grand slam doubles champion, and Nenad Zimonjic in the quarter-finals.
And though this would be a far sterner test, Klaasen and Butoric will be motivated by the fact that they upset Nestor and Zimonjic in the Australian Open.
Also on Sunday, top South African player Kevin Anderson faces his sternest test in the tournament in a third-round game against 14th-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic.
The 28-year-old Anderson is striving to reach a first elusive grand slam quarter-final after progressing to the last-16 stage on five occasions.