NEW YORK, August 31, 2019 (by Sharada Rajagopalan)
Five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland righted his ship that turned turtle in his opening two matches, against Great Britain’s Dan Evans on Friday at the US Open. The 38-year-old won his first match of the event in straight sets. In an hour and 20 minutes, the World No. 3 claimed a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win.
The Basel native had struggled to find form with his second serves against Sumit Nagal and Damir Dzumhur in the previous matches. Against Evans, he was not only solid behind his second serves but also gave no opportunity for Evans to make headway into them. For the entirety of the match, Federer won 71 per cent of points on his second serve. In the second set alone, he won 100 per cent points off his second serves. Along the same lines, the 20-time Grand Slam champion who had hit 17 unforced errors in the opening set of his match against Dzumhur in the previous round had just 19 unforced errors for the entirety of his match against Evans.
Federer converted seven of the 14 break points he had and was broken only once – in the third game of the third set, while trying to consolidate a break on Evans’ serve. He finished with 87 points for the match, with 48 of these coming in winners.
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The 2019 Wimbledon finalist will take on 15th seed David Goffin of Belgium who defeated Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6(5), 7-6(9), 7-5 in three hours and 13 minutes. Federer’s win in the third round saw him improve his performance at that stage in Flushing Meadows to 18-0.
In his interaction with the media, a question came up about whether he had asked an early schedule since his opponent would have played for two consecutive days because of rain delays. In his reply, Federer was irritated but was polite in disagreeing with the line of querying.
“It’s maybe nice to be out of the sun, as well, I don’t know, I thought. But I definitely didn’t do it intentionally. I don’t even know if the team asked for day. I know there was questions to have a preference,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean like, ‘Roger asks, Roger gets.’ Just remember that, because I have heard this s**t too often now.”
Federer added, “I’m sick and tired of it, that apparently I call the shots. The tournament and the TV stations do. We can give our opinion. That’s what we do. But I’m still going to walk out even if they schedule me at 4 in the morning.”
Daniil Medvedev, Novak Djokovic and scoring riling victories
The fifth-seed from Russia, Daniil Medvedev overcame cramps and a raucous crowd gathered against him to beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-6(1), 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 in three hours and 19 minutes. The 23-year-old, who also had to play on back-to-back days because of Wednesday’s play being cancelled due to rain, had a couple of bouts of temper tantrums with a ball boy, and the crowd, and the cameras even caught him making a not-so-covert gesture with his middle finger.
After his win, in his on-court interview, Medvedev mocked the crowd for their support. He said, “Your energy tonight gave me the win. I want all of you to know, when you’re asleep tonight, that I won because of you… The more you do this, the more I will win for you guys.”
Koepfer upsets Basilashvili
This is the first time Medvedev has reached the fourth round of the US Open. In the fourth round, he will take on German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. Koepfer became the only second qualifier in a decade to make it to the second week at Flushing Meadows. The World No. 118 defeated the 17th seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-1 in their third-round match.
Following the win, Koepfer will also break into the top-100 of the ATP singles ranking.
World No. 1, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic got into an argument with a fan who was attending his pre-match practice session on the day. A Twitter video showing Djokovic coldly telling the fan that he would find him later did the rounds. But neither this nor his shoulder injury distracted the top-seed from going about his business against the United States’ Denis Kudla. The 32-year-old won 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and three minutes.
After the match, the Belgrade native shared that his shoulder was feeling better on the day. “I managed to play almost pain free,” he said. “It’s a big improvement from last match, I didn’t know how the body would react and I’m just glad to finish the match tonight.”
Djokovic will take on Switzerland’s 23rd seed Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round. The three-time Major champion defeated Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(4). Djokovic leads their head-to-head 19-5. But Wawrinka defeated him in their last meeting, in the final of the 2016 US Open.