Roger Federer kept on rolling. The Swiss has been playing some of his best tennis in years today crushing Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the US Open.
Federer has now held serve an incredible 72 straight times since his 34th birthday last month – we should all be so lucky. He won Cincinnati and he’s won his first two matches in New York quite easily.
“Doing the right things on the court,” Federer said tonight after breezing past the man who knocked out Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon two yers ago. “It was pretty on the easier side, you know, so I was able to mix it up, was attacking, was also staying back some. I was pretty much all-out attack as much as I could. Obviously I have to manage that against different players when the scoreline isn’t maybe so one-sided.”
So Federer has looked excellent, but I’ll temper it by saying frankly, he hasn’t played much of anyone. That changes in the next round when he takes on Phil Kohlschreiber and we’ll see where his game is really at.
While Federer had a light workout, 2012 champion Andy Murray was nearly sent packing. The World No. 3 talked about Adrian Mannarino being a tricky opponent and he was right. In stunning fashion, the unheralded Frenchman led a flat Murray by two sets in Ashe oven. Murray then kicked it into gear as the lefty began to wilt in the stifling heat and the Scot cruised in the final three sets 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.
“I’m proud of the way I fought,” Murray said. “It was not an easy match to come through at all. He was making it extremely difficult for me, as well. Thought he played some really, really good tennis. He has such an unorthodox game, I didn’t really feel that comfortable at many points out there in the match. But, yeah, I was happy, very happy with the way I fought through that, you know, finished the match stronger than him.”
A concern for Murray? Yes. But he did get through it and looked good at the end.
One former champion did lose and that was 2001 winner Lleyton Hewitt who fought hard but at 34 just didn’t have enough left to complete the comeback against countryman Bernard Tomic.
Tomic jumped out to a two set lead over Hewitt, but couldn’t close it serving for it in the fourth. Hewitt fought back and actually served for the match at 5-4 in the fifth but failed to win another game falling 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5.
“I left it all out there again,” said Hewitt. Yeah, obviously you go through the pain barrier out there on the court. Everything happens so quickly. It was the same as Wimbledon. But, you know, was a great atmosphere out there on that court. The crowd was really involved. You know, it was nice to be able to turn it into a decent match.
“Tennis has given me the life that I have, and that’s the best thing. Obviously I’ve had a lot of success. A lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifices. But obviously at the end of the day, you know, tennis has given me this great life.”
I was also always of Hewitt’s playing style. He fought like few others and he really maximized his game. He’ll be missed.
Heat claimed promising Jack Sock while his countryman John Isner had no troubles with former US Open semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny. Isner’s looked good – he hasn’t dropped a set nor been in a tiebreaker, but once again who’s he played?
Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Donald Young and birthday boy Dominic Thiem were also winners.
Overall, it’s hard to get geared up much for the first four days at Grand Slams because the top guys usually have little opposition thanks to the 32 seeding. That changes tomorrow when we finally see some good matches with real upset potential.
Novak Djokovic takes on Andreas Seppi who beat Federer in Australia in this round. I don’t think that happens Friday with the way Novak’s been playing – he’s looked the best of anyone, though again he’s had a great draw.
David Ferrer faces Jeremy Chardy and I think given the lack of tournament play from Ferrer I like the Frenchman in that.
And in the big match Rafael Nadal faces rival Fabio Fognini. Under the lights on hardcourts I think Nadal gets through, but Rafa still doesn’t look very sharp – and he may never again – so the Italian has a shot.
“The beat me twice this year. Before he didn’t beat me. He played great in Beijing. Finally I won the match. He’s a big, talented player. He’s a tough opponent for everybody when he’s playing well. So for everybody is a tough opponent, not only for me.”
It should be a fun match and a decent barometer for where Rafa is at.
Defending champ Marin Cilic has played well and he hasn’t lost a set yet. Milos Raonic faces Feliciano Lopez in a serve-fest. I think I like Lopez there over the ailing Canadian who’s now bothered by a back.
ESPN/ESPN2 has full coverage once again.
FRIDAY US OPEN SCHEDULE
Arthur Ashe Stadium 11:00 AM Start
Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)
Not Before: 1:00 PM
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Venus Williams (USA)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Andreas Seppi (ITA)
Arthur Ashe Stadium 7:00 PM Start
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Louis Armstrong Stadium 11:00 AM Start
Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) vs. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)
Madison Keys (USA) vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
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