Cincinnati - Novak Djokovic survived a scare in the pursuit of a first career title at the ATP and WTA Cincinnati Masters, with the top seed holding off David Goffin 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 on Thursday for a quarter-final place.
Djokovic, aiming to become the first man to win all eight Masters 1000 events, nearly found himself on the sidelines as his 13th-seeded Belgian opponent won the second set and went two breaks up in the decider.
But the experienced Djokovic pulled back from the brink, levelling at 3-3 after destroying a racquet along the way, and ran out the winner after a tense one and three-quarter hours.
Djokovic stayed alive despite seven double-faults and five breaks of his serve.
"It was a solid first set, but whatever happened in the next 45 minutes I don't want to remember it," Djokovic said.
"Luckily for me I managed to bounce back, dig myself out of this hole I was in," added Djokovic, who admitted he had struggled to adjust to the conditions.
"Very swirly on the court. Not easy to serve or easy to control the ball, it flies through the air very quickly."
Djokovic will face Stan Wawrinka in the next round after the Swiss fifth seed prevailed in a marathon battle with big-serving Ivo Karlovic to win 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/5) after more than two and a half hours.
"I'm really happy to get the win, you know what to expect from him," said Wawrinka, who saw 35 aces from Karlovic fly past him. "You need to stay calm and aggressive.
"I'm happy with the way I stayed positive with body language, and always made him play one more ball. You must accept that he will have a lot of aces. I'm happy to get through."
Sixth seed Tomas Berdych crushed Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-1; Alexandr Dolgopolov beat Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Women's French Open finalist Lucie Safarova advanced to the quarter-finals when injured opponent Belinda Bencic quit trailing 6-2.
The 12th-ranked Swiss teenager who beat Serena Williams and Simona Halep on her way to the Toronto trophy last weekend, lasted only 33 minutes, receiving treatment midway through the set on her right arm.
Bencic later explained she suffered with a muscle problem from so much recent tennis.
"It's just muscular, I'm very tight through the forearm. The change of balls and I played a lot of matches, I think that it's just too much pressure," she said.
With the US Open starting a week from Monday in New York, caution likely played a role in her decision.
She will make a late decision on whether to play in next week's WTA tournament in New Haven the week before the start of the Open.
"I don't think it's like very serious, I just wasn't 100 percent today. To beat Lucie or even compete against her, you need to be 100 percent," she said.
"I'm really sorry I had to retire. It was like I think the first time ever I retired a match, so it didn't feel very good.
"Physically I'm fine except this, and mentally I'm also fine. I mean, I won a lot of matches. I think that's the best that can happen to you mentally."