Federer starts bid for sixth US Open title
Roger Federer kick-started his US Open as the second seed won his 23rd night match at the Ashe stadium, dispatching Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the first round on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Swiss is playing in a record 60th straight grand slam appearance and now stands 23-1 under the lights at the Flushing Meadows showcase arena.
The winner of 17 majors, who is bidding for a sixth title at the tournament, improved to 68-9 at the final major of the season, playing for the 15th consecutive edition.
He won the event five years in a row from 2004-08.
Former basketball great Michael Jordan watched from the box as Federer logged his 50th win this season, mostly on the ATP.
“It’s never easy playing a first round,” said Federer, whose only slip in a flawless performance came in the third set when he went up a break and then lost it before winning in a tiebreaker with a leaping overhead winner.
“Marinko has a big game, you never know what to expect. It was more difficult in the third. He fought well to come back.
“But it’s always good to win a tiebreaker. I came up with some really good passing shots tonight.” Federer next plays another Australian, Sam Groth.
The Swiss was joined in the second round by fellow top 10 seeds David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori.
Number four Spaniard Ferrer, beaten by Federer for the Cincinnati title just over a week ago, put out Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2; 10th seed Nishikori accounted for Wayne Odesnik 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Nishikori improved his record in New York to 8-5 as he plays at Flushing Meadows for the sixth time in seven years. His best result was the fourth round in 2008.
“I’m very happy. I was playing really well. It was almost the perfect game,” said the 24-year-old, who feared for his fitness prior to the start of the major.
French 12th seed Richard Gasquet, who had a limited build-up due to injury, opened with a defeat of Uzbek Denis Istomin 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 while 13th seed John Isner earned a welcome American win as he beat Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).
“I feel like I played well, I played a great second set,” said Isner, who withdrew last week in Winston Salem with an injury. “I wish the third set would have been easier.” Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini advanced into the second round over Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
Croatian 17-year-old Borna Coric made a splashy debut as he upset Winston Salem winner Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
Victor Estrella Burgos 34,became the oldest tournament debutant, defeating Igor Sijsling 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Italian Paolo Lorenzi finally won a grand slam match on his 12th attempt as he overcame Yoshito Nishioka 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
In the women’s draw, third-seeded Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova crushed Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 6-0, while the woman she beat at the All England Club two months ago, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, began the event by defeating Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-1.
Eighth seed Ana Ivanovic rolled over American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0, and Italian 11th seed Flavia Pennetta stopped German Julia Goerges 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
American 15-year-old CiCi Bellis became the youngest winner at the event since 1996 – three years before her birth – as she stunned Australian Open finalist and 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
The teenager who is an amateur and keeping her options open on a tennis career, could have claimed 60,000 dollars in prize money for reaching the second round had she been a professional.
Former number one Victoria Azarenka, seeded 16th after a season of injury, struggled but won as she reached the second round over Misaki Doi of Japan 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-1.
“I felt throughout three sets I was pretty consistent with movement and everything. So it was all good,” said Azarenka.
2011 champion Samantha Stosur beat Lauren Davis of the US 6-1, 6-4, while another ex-holder, Svetlana Kuznetsova, lost to Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).