It was deja vu all over again for Roger Federer. After a poor start to his tournament Monday night against Indian Sumit Nagal, Federer was once again error-prone early against Damir Dzumhur before getting things going in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
Federer sprayed 17 unforced errors in the opening set going down 4-0 all but handing the Bosnian his first set win ever against the former No. 1.
“I don’t think there is per se a secret to a good start other than warming up well, being well-prepared mentally,” Federer said. “Not underestimating your opponent. I did all of that. You know me, I will always do that.
“So when it happens like this back-to-back matches, you know, it’s just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there,” he said. “Can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward.”
Federer will now await the Dan Evans-Lucas Pouille winner who will play tomorrow. Federer benefited from his stature and played his first match under the Ashe roof.
“It helps me but doesn’t help the other guys,” Federer said of the roof. “It’s good for the media or for TV, at least you’ve got something going on. For fans, as well, who paid maybe high price for the ticket, they get to see some tennis. I think that’s good. For us, the players, I mean, it’s good for a few guys, and the rest it’s not good.
“I think this roof is more important when it comes to semis and finals, you know, than a day like today, because they’re going to fall behind, matches are going to get cancelled, and then other players have to back it up, back-to-back days. So it’s going to be tough. Here I definitely profit from everything I guess I did in the game and my ranking to be put on center court on a day like this.”
Kei Nishikori began the day under the roof in Armstrong hanging on to beat former Stanford collegiate star Bradley Klahn 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Nishikori was in full control up 5-1 with a match point in the fourth before letting Klahn back in. The 29-year-old American ran off four straight games to even things at 5-all before the 2014 finalist closed him out.
“He served really well today and I lost focus,” said Nishikori. “I’m happy to win and I’m looking forward to play the next one. I lost serve at 5-1 and 5-3 but got through. It’s always fun playing in New York and I hope to keep playing good tennis.”
In the evening, tournament favorite and defending champion Novak Djokovic had to work to beat Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-1 in 2 hours, 15 minutes. The Argentine actually led by a double-break in the second 3-0.
“I want to congratulate Londero for showing a great fighting spirit and playing some great tennis tonight,” Djokovic told the crowd. “It’s a straight-sets win, but it was definitely a very difficult match to play. A lot of rallies, especially in the first couple of sets.”
While Djokovic won, he did have to take a medical timeout to receive treatment on his left shoulder. The trainer treated that same shoulder several more times throughout the match.
Djokovic admitted he did feel pain in the shoulder.
“It has caused hindrance to my game for sure tonight, especially with the serve and backhand. It was not easy to play with this kind of sensation, to be honest. I did not experience that too many times in my career,” said Djokovic. “I was also lucky to find my way back in the second set and to win in the straight sets.
“It wasn’t easy to play with the pain but I had to find a way. It’s not the first time I face this kind of challenges,” Djokovic said. “This is something I’ve been carrying for quite some time.
“Maybe I’ll freeze my arm,” he joked of the treatment.
In the late match, birthday boy Reilly Opelka celebrated turning 22 by playing 25-year-old qualifier Dominik Koepfer of Germany.
Grigor Dimitrov also advanced after Borna Coric withdrew from the tournament due to a back injury.
With rain throughout the day, no outer court matches were completed (just four were started) so tomorrow scheduled will be jam packed.
Returning as scheduled though are Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Alexander Zverev who starts the day on Ashe against American 21-year-old Frances Tiafoe.
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