March 21 2018

US Open round-up from day four

March 21 2018, 12:24 | Sammy Rose

Graphic by Anand Katakam

Graphic by Anand Katakam

The roof was closed at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY as Nadal improved to 13-0 in U.S. Open first-round play by dispatching Serbian Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2. He did not participate at the French Open.

Unbeaten in his two previous 2017 Grand Slam events, Federer wrestled with an iffy serve throughout the first set and appeared distracted by the unsettling noise under the closed Arthur Ashe Stadium roof, unable to get his teeth into the match. In the third set, Youzhny captivated on the failed opportunities from Federer to turn the 3-2 lead into a 6-4 win. Federer won that one in Stockholm and has taken the other 15 victories as well. Tiafoe came into Tuesday's match 41st on the ATP Tour with 109 aces in 14 hard-court matches.

Sixth-seed Dominic Thiem of Austria will meet American Taylor Fritz in a first-time matchup between the two.

With Thursday's schedule in Arthur Ashe Stadium pitting both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal against opponents ranked outside the world's top 100 tournament organisers at the US Open might have been expecting an early finish.

Tiafoe has broken through just yet, but he put the world on notice.

Federer showed little signs of angst throughout the match, however he was treading unsafe tides against the inspired Youzhny. But when Federer served for it the American rose up from the ashes to break back. He grimaced, but rose and finished the game, which he lost. However, with the pressure now well and truly on him, he started to strike the ball cleanly and broke Youzhny, eventually building a 4-1 lead with the Russian starting to show some signs of physical fatigue.

US Open round-up from day four
US Open round-up from day four

Youzhny won the second set in a tiebreaker and all but breezed through the third. The Slovenian broke late in the second set to level the match but made little further impression. But Youzhny's cramping instantly changed the arc of the match, and Federer was able to hold on and win, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in a match of attrition and desire.

How do they match up?

In terms of experience, he won't get much more than Mikhail Youzhny either, who he has been drawn to play in the second round. While hurdling for a long shot from Federer, Youzhny landed on his leg wrong and stayed on the court for a while. However, where Federer has the unquestionable advantage is in serving.

He hit 68 unforced errors and only 63 winners, a very un-Federer-like ratio. "I still believe I'm going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I'm not playing all that badly".

From there, Youzhny stunned Federer with a combination of aggressive and measured tennis, mixing up his game with some crisp groundstrokes and zippy slice backhands. But look at the front row - and Lynette Federer.

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