Andy Murray has continued his brilliant winning run by progressing to the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kevin Anderson.
The South African, who knocked Murray out of the US open last year, became the latest player swept aside by the two-time Olympic singles champion as he stretched his winning run to 20 matches and his tally of career wins to 600.
Discussing the landmark, the Scot said: "It's cool that it happened in Cincinnati.
"I got a wild card here when I was 18. I also won my first Masters 1000 here, so it's a place that means a lot to me."
Murray will now face Bernard Tomic in the quarter finals as he seeks to add another tour title to his growing list. He has reached the final of his last six tournaments, winning four of them - including the Championships, Wimbledon - and only losing the other two against Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic pulled out of Cincinnati with a wrist injury that has dogged him in recent weeks and while the Serb should be recovered in time to play in the US Open and can point to a recent win in the Rogers Cup, his early defeats at Wimbledon and in Rio have dented his previous veneer of invincibility. Murray is increasingly looking like he could not only win the US Open, but topple Djokovic from the world number one spot.
Fans booking corporate hospitality for the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in November will be watching the qualification race closely, although both Murray and Djokovic are certain to be there having won Grand Slam titles this year, a rule that means a player finishing outside the top eight can make it after winning a major - as was the case for Marin Cilic in 2014. Even so, both are virtually certain to be in the top eight and the main question is: in which order?
Murray's hopes of adding the Cincinnati title have been boosted by the exit of several other leading players. Kei Nishikori would not have been a favourite against a man who swept him aside in the Rio semi-final anyway, but Tomic defeated him 7-6, 7-6. Stan Wawrinka was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Grigor Dimitrov, and Rafael Nadal slipped to a 6-1, 6-3 loss against Borna Coric.
Nadal and Murray flew out of Rio on the same jet, but while Murray is in great shape, Nadal revealed he is struggling with his fitness after making his comeback from a wrist injury in Rio. He admitted he would not have played had not the Quadrennial event meant so much to him, and while he reached the semi-finals in the singles and won doubles gold, he acknowledged the toll his Olympic efforts had taken.
"Elbow, shoulder. Two and a half months without competing and especially without practising, and to do what I did in the Olympics and come here - too much," he remarked.
With no Roger Federer and questions over the fitness of Nadal and Djokovic, Murray is in a great position to stock up the trophy cabinet and pile up ranking points just now.
Hopes of double British success in Cincinnati have evaporated, however, as Johanna Konta was knocked out by fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
By Keith Prowse