Shaky Federer, Pained Djokovic Win Tough Matches Under Roof At Rainy US Open
by Staff | August 28th, 2019, 11:51 pm

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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21 Comments for Shaky Federer, Pained Djokovic Win Tough Matches Under Roof At Rainy US Open

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Its the grand slams that really drive home the paucity of the men’s game right now. It used to be, just a few years ago, that third rounds would have some really compelling matches. Now, every slam I check in to see the third round schedule and go back to not watching for a couple more days. Even fourth rounds now are often lacklustre. Look at some of the 9-16 seeds: Monfils, Isner, Goffin, Fognini, Bautista Agut. No one believes they are beating a true contender. So even if they make the quarters, beating Tsitsipas or Zverev. it just makes the quarters that much more predictable.

Anyway. Enjoy!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I guess its more than a few years, come to think of it.

SG1 Says:

If Fed isn’t injured and Novak’s shoulder problem isn’t serious, I have a feeling they will both be lethal in the 2nd week.

Daniel Says:

Agree SG1, even with their bad patches in last round they were hitting some intense shots. Federer’s FH looks more powerfull as if he’s getting the ball even more on the rise.

Djoko strokes also looked great apart from serves, and he made some spectacular defenses as well. To me they seem on a different level.

Nadal I don’t judge anymore with the competion he has on his side, he looks invencible untill he faces Federer or Djokovic. That happened plenty of time in last years. But his Slams results are super consistant.

Every since USO 2017 he made:
Title USO 17′
QF AO 18′
Title RG 18′
Semis W 18′
Semis USO 18′
Final AO 19′
Title RG 19′
Semis W 19′

His only non semis or beyond was AO 2018 losing in 5 to Cicic. In a spam of 8 Slams he won 3, lost 1 to Cilic and tiwce to Djoko and Federer. Its very hard to anyone not Fedovic to beat him in Slams these days.

vk Says:

“Nadal I don’t judge anymore with the competion he has on his side, he looks invencible untill he faces Federer or Djokovic”

False.. seem to remember Rafa beating federer pretty handily at roland garros and last i checked the french open is a slam.

Daniel Says:

Forget Nadal and clay, its a whole different dynamics there.

Adding “outside clay”…

What I meant is he looks invencible on HC and grass these last 2 years until he faces one of Djoko or Federer. He lost last 2 Wimbledon’s to them and AO 17 and 19 as well.

This is Hard Court, the last time he faced Djoko in AO final we all saw what happened and the last time he beat either of them in a Hard court match was:
– 2014 AO vs Federer (more than 5 years)
– 2013 USO Final against Novak, 6 years ago.

So we get the picture.

Daniel Says:

In the meantime, Zverev won another 5 set match agaisnt Tiafoe. At leats he’s winning back to back matches.

vk Says:

Cherrypicking can always make things seem better or worse than how things actually are. Consider this- last time federer beat djokovic in a meaningful tournament (masters 1000 or above) was in 2015 in cincy 2015. If we make the argument that cincy is Rogers favorite masters 1000 and there is a different dynamic there, last time Federer beat djokovic in a final of a meaningful non-cincy tournament was us open in 2007

RZ Says:

In non-US Open tennis news, Andy Murray lost in the Mallorca challenger in a 3rd set tiebreak. Some on Twitter said that he was cramping toward the end of the match. I guess he has to work on match fitness, so ti’s good that he’s doing the challenger circuit rather than playing the main tour.

skeezer Says:

Rafa has only “handled” Fed at RG, which he handles EVERYBODY. Otherwise Fed, as an old man, has been handing Rafa beatdowns since 2015, 7 out of 8 times since ( oh, that RG thingy ).

skeezer Says:

Halep just lost to Townsend, and she didn’t like it lol. Townsend S&V’d her off the court.
Halep tried smashing her racket 4(5?) times in a row couldn’t bust the thing. Wasn’t pretty. Oh well Halep, there will always be Wimby. Congrats too Townsend, great win for her.

RZ Says:

Looks like Shapovalov has taken on Mikhail Youzhny as a coach. A rare instance where the coach would be familiar with the games of many of the guys on tour from personal experience.

Truth Says:

Halep thinks it’s clay tennis on us open courts.
She never lobs and hopes it’s all about running. Is she this foolish? She lost to a girl who all but gave up hope after 5 years of losing.

Swiss fraud was lucky against horrible opponents. He was in constant trouble and the only thing saving him was extremely hard ball bashing, as Serena does. Boring mess.

Daniel Says:


C’mon! Generalizing outside clay (which is a constant in Nadal’s career due to his dominance there), than picking what you did specific for a final, “meaningfull final” is very different.

Federer beat Djoko in London RR which plays like a final when you only play top 8 players, the best of the season. That RR could be more hard than any match Nadal may play till finals in this year USO if Zverev and or Kyrgios loses early.

If you can’t see that Nadal just can’t beat both federer and djokovic outside clay in more than 5 years, I don’t know what sport you are following.

Indeed Djoko has a winning streak over Federer, but that is not the point here. If Both djoko and Nadal were having the same stat over him it would be telling. But ita not. The one stuck with “only” clay wins over both is Nadal

Daniel Says:

Btw, Kyrgios seems way more focus this tourney, as he was in Acaoulco and Washington.

If he passes Rublev next round m, he has a very high chance of reaching semis. Him, Shapo (who also just won) or Monfisl who is 1set and a break up. That quarter os wide open for the taking by one of them. Maybe Kyrgios saw that and is triggered.

I kind of hope for a semis between him and Nadal. That possible night match on NY will be fire with the bad blood between them.

vk Says:

All i saying is when you choose a particular criteria, things can look worse than they are. If you think a win in a atp 500 or a rr at the atp tour finals means much more than a win in the final of the masters/grand slams, i do not which sport you are following either. Do Federer’s opponents, in this case, Rafa get the caveat of Federer having beaten him on his best surface? If we started discounting losses just because it happened on one players best surface, it will never be objective.

The above cherrypicked statistic of Federer not having beaten Djokovic in a big tournament final(barring Cincinnati- which should be discounted just like you discounted Rafas clay wins) since Us open 2007 served to illustrate the fact how dumb cherrypicking can be which was what you were resorting to.

Daniel Says:

Not having a win on HC or grass which are together with clay the 3 surfaces tennis is played on, its not cherry picking, itts a fact, its a statistic. Mentioned by commentors, expert, writers etc…

If you check ATP site itself they mention these kind of stats all the time in articles.

Next time Fed and Nadal play on HC or Nadal and Djokovic play on HC, these will be mentioned. This Wimbledon prior to Fedal makority of experts and commentors were saying it, that even with last RG match won by Nadal, he hasn’t beat Fed outside clay since 2014 and so on… it will be mentioned. Even the sets won strakes on HC were mentioned it in 2017. But nobody will bother with the stat you pointed.

Surface evaluation is not cherry picking. Its one of the most used stats when comenting matches together with previous encouters and HxH, plus the particular player resume.

You did cherry pick a stat, which have 2 degrees of conditioning: has to be a final, and Masters level or beyond (meaning Slam).

The one I mention is a direct stat outside clay.]

And finally I mention that parcticular Djoko x Fed RR as sarcasm compared to Nadal potential path in this USO quality wise. Any Federer x Djokovic match in any venue is better in significance than all potential Nadal USO matches till final consider who is involved. I mean Nadal x Zverev QF, or Nadal x Kyrgios semis are the marquee long… maybe matches on the bottom half. Zverev, a guy who is strugling all year and Kyrgios who needs no comenting.

vk Says:

All i am saying is that in order to build a narrative any stat can be thrown and shown how unlikely or likely a certain event is. For instance, roger has not beaten djokovic in a slam final since 2007. Roger has not beaten Rafa in a slam final since 2007(barring the australian open, which i will conveniently avoid arguing that it is Rafas worst slam just like Rafas clay victories are conveniently suppressed to suit the narrative).

It shows tremendous bias when Rafas clay victories are undermined arguing he does that to everyone on that surface. So if Rogers grass victories over Rafa are to be ignored, should Rafa have lost the wimby final in 2008?

And how ironic that you consider a djoko federer match at say dubai to be of great significance but at the same time brush aside rafas incredible showings at roland garros and the other clay victories over both of them simply because it does not suit your narrative. By the way you lend credence to the weak era argument that is bandied(which i do not fully subscribe to) when you talk about Rafas draw.. If anyone has benefited from such draws, it is the old man.

chrisford1 Says:

If Nadal had never won a Masters on clay or RG in his entire career, but had his Wimbledon and HC victories, he’d be considered an awesome player, on par with Edberg or Becker. But add you add clay and he is on one hand a legend, but at the same time sadly typecast as Dirt Lord, or King of Clay – but not a great all around player like Federer or Djokovic.
That’s what happens when 2/3rds of his Masters Titles and Slams are clay ones.
People overjoyed at Nadal winning the big clay events in double digit career trophy numbers miss how much better it would be for him to have won a couple more AOs than French Opens.

Daniel Says:

I am not saying clay wise. I am saying in this particular USO.

The players Nadal will have to play in R16, QF and semis can all be non seed depending on how the draws plays out and the seeds legts are not that impressive (Zverev, Monfils, Berretini and Kyrgios).

And assessing the dynamics outside clay of their recent encounters (not that recent anuway: 5-6 years respectivelly) with both Federer and Djokovic.

Basically Nadal can’t beat Djoko outside clay and Federer turned the tide as well. 6-1 last encounters and 6-0 outside clay in last 5 years.

Federer is in a similar path with Djoko, on WTF 2019 if they don’t clash before, it will make 4 year without him beating Djoko. But the Nadal issue he had seems long gone.

And I started this argument because the pattern repeat in every non clay slam the last 3 years: Nadal playing great ealry on, everybody saying he will win and when he plays Fedovic he loses.

Daniel Says:

Also, mentioned before the Open that is not just Nadal benefiting from lack of competion. Outside The Big 3 there is just not any consistant player, and that’s why they are pilling Slams at will, 11 out of 11 and soon one of them will win this USO as well.

Also a bunch of different Masters winners. Even Sock and Isner got a Masters. Those years of Bog 4 plus Wawa consistancy are gone. Its just the 3 and we don’t know how long they will dokinate. Federer maybe just until next year. Nadal also not that young anymore also.

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