US Open 2015

Federer charge gathers pace

World No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland is airborne as he prepares to hit a smash during his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the first round of the US Open.
World No. 2 Roger Federer of Switzerland is airborne as he prepares to hit a smash during his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the first round of the US Open.PHOTO: REUTERS

Swiss persists with service-return rush tactic as he joins Djokovic, Nadal in second round

NEW YORK • Novak Djokovic went through to the second round at tennis' US Open for the loss of only three games to the Brazilian Joao Souza on day one.

Roger Federer, who beat the world No. 1 handily in Cincinnati at the start of last week, did not quite match him on day two against Leonardo Mayer.

But there was little to fault in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win on Tuesday against the lanky Argentinian, who was both good enough and profligate enough to blow five match points against him in Shanghai last year.


  • US Open (1st rd, selected)

    Men: Stan Wawrinka (Sui) bt Albert Ramos (Esp) 7-5 6-4 7-6 (8-6), Chung Hyeon (Kor) bt James Duckworth (Aus) 6-3 6-1 6-2, Donald Young (USA) bt Gilles Simon (Fra) 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4, Andy Murray (Gbr) bt Nick Kyrgios (Aus) 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-1, Bernard Tomic (Aus) bt Damir Dzumhur (Bih) 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-3, Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kaz) 6-0 7-6 (7-2) 1-0 ret, Robin Haase (Ned) bt Dustin Brown (Ger) 4-6 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-4, Roger Federer (Sui) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 6-1 6-2 6-2.

    Women: Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Laura Siegemund (Ger) 6-1 6-1, Garbine Muguruza (Esp) bt Carina Witthoeft (Ger) 6-2 6-4, Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Jamie Loeb (USA) 6-2 6-0, Lesya Tsurenko (Ukr) bt Lucie Safarova (Cze) 6-4 6-1, Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Lucie Hradecka (Cze) 6-1 6-2, Barbora Strycova (Cze) bt Timea Bacsinszky (Sui) 7-5 6-0, Wang Qiang (Chn) bt Maria Sakkari (Gre) 7-5 6-2, Simona Halep (Rom) bt Marina Erakovic (Nzl) 6-2 3-0 ret.


There is a way to go to an 18th Grand Slam title, of course, but Federer's fine form has no discernible end point after his excellent run at Wimbledon, dismantling Andy Murray with his potent service game - only to wilt against Djokovic in the final.

Since then, he has rested sensibly before returning looking fit, fresh and dangerous. He turned 34 three weeks ago but is moving around the court with coltish energy.

Again, Federer felt confident enough to unfurl his new pet shot, the charge, for which Mayer had no more effective response than did Murray, Djokovic or Kevin Anderson in Cincinnati in the warm-up tournament for the US Open.

Selectively crowding the net on his opponent's second serve, Federer bamboozled Mayer.

The emboldened charge has become more than an oddity - even if Rafael Nadal, for one, is amazed Federer is using it in a Grand Slam after the headline-grabbing experiment in Mason, Ohio.

Federer smiles when it is suggested the shot is no more than a circus trick, with no place in a serious competitive arena.

"I'm happy I was able to use it today," he said courtside. "I hope to be able to keep it up. When you miss, it looks ridiculous. But my coach says keep going for it. Maybe sometimes I've got to drop it."

The game was up for Mayer in an hour and 17 minutes. It was six minutes longer than Djokovic's opening match and equal with Mikhail Kukushkin's third-set retirement win over Lu Yen-hsun.

"I think I got off to a good start today," Federer, who faces Belgian Steve Darcis next, said in measured understatement.

"He was a bit shaky in the beginning. When I got a break in the second, his level dropped. My serve got better and better."

Later, world No. 3 Murray ushered the talented young Australian Nick Kyrgios out of yet another Grand Slam.

The Scot had beaten 37th-ranked Kyrgios in straight sets in their three previous meetings. He eliminated his opponent this year from two other Grand Slams, in the Australian Open quarter-finals and the third round of the French Open.

Murray sent Kyrgios packing in the first round after playing straight man to the flippant Australian, who unnecessarily tried "tweener" shots through his legs .

"I expected a very tough match and that's what I got," Murray, 28, who next meets French left-hander Adrian Mannarino, said.



Day 4: StarHub Ch201, 11pm & tomorrow, 7am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2015, with the headline 'Federer charge gathers pace'. Print Edition | Subscribe