World No. 1 Roger Federer defeated reigning NCAA champ Devin Britton 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 on Monday to begin his march to a potential sixth straight US Open title.
“It’s just 100 times bigger than I’ve anything I’ve ever played in front of,” said Britton, appearing in his first US Open and thrust immediately on its biggest stage. “It was a little overwhelming. I thought I did all right. I was pretty happy with my performance.”
The Swiss was not particularly sharp, and buried in the lopsided score is the stat that Britton, who displayed a deft net-rushing touch, was up a break in both the second and third sets.
“I didn’t drop a set, and, you know, tricky match for me,” Federer said. “Playing a guy who’s got absolutely nothing to lose obviously. I’m here as a five-time defending champion, so it makes it a bit tricky. He did play I think really well. He had some very good spells, and I had to make sure from my side that I stayed with him and come back, because I was down a break in the second and in the third. So it was good to still get through in three sets.”
Only two other Top 10 seeds were in action, with Andy Roddick beating Bjorn Phau 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, and Nikolay Davydenko straight-setting Dieter Kindlmann.
American John Isner was an upset-maker on the day, defeating No. 28 Victor Hanescu 6-1, 7-6(14), 7-6(5).
“That was a process, really,” said Isner, who pulled out of New Haven last week citing exhaustion, on coming back from a case of mono this summer. “You know, I missed the whole European swing. It might have been a blessing in disguise. I felt fresh ever since I started playing in the States. But definitely my first tournament back, I think it was Indianapolis, I wasn’t 100% physically as far as, you know, fatigue-wise. I think it’s gotten little better by better ever so slowly. Actually had a scare in the tournament in Cincinnati. I thought it might come back. I just felt horrible. Fortunately it didn’t.”
Isner will next drop the service hammer against Turkish qualifier Marcel Ilhan, who defeated Christophe Rochus 7-5 in the fifth.
Russian Mikhail Youzhny also toppled No. 26 Paul-Henri Mathieu 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.
Other seeds advancing were (12) Robin Soderling, (14) Tommy Robredo, (15) Radek Stepanek, (20) Tommy Haas, (21) James Blake, (23) Philipp Kohlschreiber, and (31) Lleyton Hewitt.
Tuesday’s highlights are (4) Novak Djokovic vs. Ivan Ljubicic, (2) Andy Murray vs. Ernests Gulbis, (22) Sam Querrey vs. Michael Yani in an all-American meeting, (7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. U.S. junior star Chase Buchanan, Taylor Dent vs. Feliciano Lopez, and (11) Fernando Gonzalez vs. Nicolas Massu in an all-Chilean.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Andre Agassi held a press conference after his Monday night spectacle at the US Open, the highlights: On his academy: “I’m not educating because I was educated. It was quite the contrary. Not only did I leave Bradenton Academy in the ninth grade, but eighth grade was the best three years of my life.” On American tennis: “We’ve got to get the racquet in more kids’ hands. We have to create a grass-roots level that connects. Our sport has a great statistic. When they start playing, unlike soccer where a lot of kid play and then at eight, ten, twelve years old they drop off. Baseball, a lot of kids play little league, and then eight, ten, twelve, they drop off. Tennis, kids that start at a young age continue playing. That’s a great thing. We need to create the access, that connection.” On his down days during his career: “Some days it was pretty scary how much anger I could feel, how much fear I could feel, how much, you know, how tennis could impact me. Other days, I was as inspired as ever. But I couldn’t be inspired on a continual level until I made the choice for myself. That’s what I did when I was 27 years, ranked 147, sitting in a hotel in Stuttgart with Brad when I lost to Todd Martin 2-and-3 after taking a wildcard. He looked at me and said, ‘It’s really simple. We’re not leaving this room until you decide what you’re going to do. Are we going to start over? Are we gonna do this, because you’re too good. You’re too good of a person. I’m not going to let you do this.’ I gave him a big hug and I said, ‘I’m going to choose this.’ I looked out at the streets. I saw the lights of all the cars in Germany. I know every car I saw out there was going somewhere they possibly didn’t want to go. They were doing something they possibly didn’t want to do. So it’s not ’till you choose it for yourself that it’s really going to resonate. And I did.”…
Best kiss-ass media question on Monday at the US Open, speaking to Serena Williams: “The state of your game is good right now. I hope it continues. What do you attribute your success to? Training, fitness? You look really good. Are you really 100% ready to take this tournament?” — Who is that questioner, a blogger? That should be a media credential ejection…
Marcos Baghdatis elected to skip the US Open (he played New Haven and lost first round) and go back home to Cyprus to work on returning from wrist and back injuries…
Among players in the US Open qualifying were 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio, 2001 Australian Open runner-up Arnaud Clement, and former Top 20ers Vince Spadea, Nicole Vaidisova, and Guillermo Canas…
Serena Williams on throwing out a pitch at Yankee Stadium: “I thought I was doing fine. I thought the goal was to get it to home base, but apparently it’s not. I thought — you know, I thought it was just at least get it there. Apparently I have to hit it lower. No one told me that. I didn’t know. They kept saying, ‘I hope you can get it there.’ I thought, ‘I can get it there easy.’ I think I got the sports mixed up. Maybe I thought it was football or something.”…and Serena on her new book: “Well, it’s not a complete autobiography about my whole life. It’s definitely a memoir, however. It actually is a motivational piece. All the people that read it are kind of motivated through my struggles.”…and Serena on acting: “I would love to do acting, but I haven’t been able to get a job. I figure if I write my own script then I can star in it. That’s what I’m trying now. I can’t be — I haven’t been cast recently. It’s tough out there.”
On Monday Roger Federer became the first player in history to reach $50 million in prize money…
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