On a day when rains allowed only 9 matches to be completed, there was plenty of drama on the Arthur Ashe stadium on Day 2 as five time former champion Roger Federer and two time champion Rafael Nadal emerged as the day’s only male winners with contrastingly different paths to the second round of the Open. While Nadal, winner in 2010 and 2013 came through in straight sets, Federer grinded out a five set win over GenNext star Frances Tiafoe of the U.S.A.
In the day session, the top ranked Spaniard Rafael Nadal overcame a hesitant start against Serbian Davis cup player Dusan Lajovic, 7-6(6), 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and sixteen minutes. Lajovic got the early break in the third game of the opening set. He failed to serve out the set as he was broken to love in the tenth game.
In the ensuing tie-break, Nadal served a double fault at set point, leading 6-5, but quickly recovered with a forehand winner on serve and a Lajovic backhand unforced error sealed the tie-break at 8-6. He then took the next two sets with the identical 6-2 score registering 33 winners.
The five time champion Roger Federer, seeded third and winner in 2004-2008, was playing in his first match since losing in the final of the Roger’s Cup in Montreal two weeks ago against the German Alexander Zverev.
The Swiss who complained of back problems and then withdrew from the Cincinnati Master’s, looked very hesitant and was broken in the very first game by the nineteen year old Tiafoe. Federer, who turned 36 on August 8, then took charge of the match breaking serve twice in both the second and third set and looked to have averted the threat posed by the American.
Tiafoe, took advantage of some sloppy play by the third seeded Swiss and evened the match at two sets apiece as he claimed the fourth set breaking serve twice. In the fifth set Federer got the break in the fourth game and had a match point in the ninth game but a backhand volley error lost the match point.
He saved a break point with an ace but two forehand winners enabled Tiafoe to break back with the games on serve at 4-5 in the decider. Not unexpectedly, the young American wilted under pressure and Federer claimed the match on his third set point as Tiafoe hit a forehand into the net. The final score was 4-6,6-2,6-1,1-6,6-4 in a match lasting two hours and thirty seven minutes.
In the ladies section of the draw, there was a stunning upset as the defending champion Angelique Kerber of Germany was dumped 3-6,1-6 by Naomi Osaka of Japan in sixty minutes. Kerber seeded sixth, had won the Australian Open and U.S. Open last year. The French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, seeded 12th, beat the Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-2,1-6,6-1 in exactly 100 minutes.
The days other winners were the top seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic who had 6-2,6-1 win over Magda Linette of Poland. In an entertaining match in the evening session, the 15th seeded American Madison Keys was a 6-3,7-6(6) winner in 90 minutes on Arthur Ashe stadium against Elise Mertens of Belgium.
Following is the list of matches in the bottom of the men’s draw with my pick mentioned first:-
Sam Querrey (17) v. Dudi Sela (-)
Yen-Hsun Lu (-) v. Radu Albot (-)
Mischa Zverev (23) v. Benoit Paire (-)
John Isner (10) v. Hyeon Chung (-)
Jordan Thompson (-) v. Thomas Fabbiano (-)
Giles Muller (19) v. Paolo Lorenzi (-)
Kevin Anderson (28) v. Ernests Gulbis (-)
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Borna Coric (-)
Jo Wilfred Tsonga (8) v. Dennis Shapovalov (-)
Steve Johnson (-) v. Kyle Edmund (-)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas (20) v. Nicolas Mahut (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (12) v. Cameron Norrie (-)
Lucas Pouille (16) v. Jared Donaldson (-)
Mikhail Kukushkin (-) v. Evgeny Donskoy (-)
Diego Schwartzman (29) v. Janko Tipsarevic (-)
Marin Cilic (5) v. Florian Mayer (-)