Dominic Thiem is the highest seed left in the US Open men's draw following Djokovic's disqualification, and he sent an ominous message to his rivals with a 7-6 (4) 6-1 6-1 victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the last eight.
Twenty-year-old Canadian Auger-Aliassime had been one of the most impressive players so far this fortnight but he found himself bullied off over the last two sets by second seed Thiem.
Thiem will feel it is his time after three losing appearances in grand slam finals, most recently at the Australian Open in January, when he very nearly defeated Djokovic.
This time there are no all-time greats left to block the way and though Thiem tried to play down the significance of the absence of Djokovic – plus Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, both of whom missed the tournament – he knows all too well what a golden opportunity this is.
The Austrian said: "There is a difference that none of these three are left in the draw. That's the only difference.
"But, for me personally, it never mattered. I just always tried to focus on my next match. My focus or my concentration, it’s the same. It doesn’t matter if I play one of the big three members or if I play somebody else.
"What happened, happened. Nobody of the other players has any or had any influence of that. We just need to focus and focus on ourselves. Of course, it’s probably a little bit of a bigger chance for all of us to win the first slam."
What is certain is there will be a new male slam singles champion for the first time in six years and, crucially for the future, a first slam winner born in the 1990s. All eight quarter-finalists will be aged under 30 for the first time at a slam in more than five years.
Thiem will next face another young player breaking new ground, 21-year-old Australian Alex De Minaur, who defeated Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (6) 6-3 6-2 to reach his first slam quarter-final.
De Minaur saved four set points in the opening-set tie-break, recovering from 2-6 before pulling away and will now take on Thiem.
Meanwhile, the French Open will allow a maximum of 11,500 spectators per day to adhere to strict health protocols and curb the spread of Covid-19 when it begins later this month, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) announced on Monday.