For the second time in as many matches, five time champion Roger Federer brought his level of play down to that of his opponent as he was made to fight all the way enroute to a 6-1,6-7(3),4-6,6-4,6-2 win over the veteran Russian Mikhail Youzhny in three hours and eight minutes on Arthur Ashe stadium in the day session. The two time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain too dropped a set to little known Taro Daniel of Japan before coming through 4-6,6-3,6-2,6-2 in the night session to join Federer in the round of 32.
The third seeded Swiss who went into the match with a 16-0 record against the 2010 semi finalist Youzhny, almost bageled his hapless opponent in the first set as he finally held serve in the sixth game before Federer closed out the set in 26 minutes. Youzhny got an early break of serve in the second game to go up 2-0, but the Swiss broke twice and was serving for a two set lead in the tenth game.
A string of unforced errors and some rasping forehands from the Russian enabled to break the serve and tie it at 5-5, and in the ensuing tie-breaker Youzhny won the last four points from 3-3 to level the match at one set apiece. Federer quickly fell behind as Youzhny broke in the fifth game and then served out the set to love in the tenth game of the third set. An early break of serve for Federer was not enough as dropped serve while serving at 5-3 in the fourth set. The tiring Youzhny lost his serve in the next game and it went to a fifth. The Swiss won the last four games from 2-2 in the decider.
The 121st ranked Daniel who was born in New York but hails from Japan looked at HOME at the Flushing Meadows as he took the first set of the top seeded Spaniard. However from 3-3 in the second set, Nadal settled into the match and from there on the result was never in doubt as he took fifteen of the last nineteen games.
Another former champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, who won the title in 2009, also progressed into the third round with a 6-2,6-3,7-6(3) win over the Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras.
In what was a major upset, the Cincinnati champion Grigor Dimitrov who was on a 13 set winning streak over six matches which saw him win his maiden Masters series title, was roundly beaten by the 19 year old Russian Andrey Rublev 5-7,6-7(3),3-6 on Louis Armstrong stadium. The Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov who has been facing match fixing allegations upset the 15th seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6,6-1,7-6(5),6-2.
The sixth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem dropped a set against the American Taylor Fritz, while Frenchman Gael Monfils and David Goffin of Belgium needed five sets to dismiss American Donald Young and Guido Pella of Argentina respectively. There were straight sets wins for the Australian John Millman, Victor Troicki of Serbia, Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and the German Phillip Kohlschreiber who advanced when Santiago Giraldo of Columbia quit midway through the third set trailing 6-2,6-1,3-0.
The 30th seeded Adrian Mannarino ended the run of the American Bjorn Fratengelo in four sets, Feliciano Lopez won an all Spanish encounter against Fernando Verdasco also in four sets. The unseeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer who entered the tournament as a lucky loser beat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in four sets. Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina completes the round of 32 after a 4-6,6-4,6-0,6-1 won over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany.
The following is the list of matches to be played in the round of 32 on Friday in the men’s section of the draw with my pick mentioned first :-
Marin Cilic (5) v. Diego Schwartzman (-)
Lucas Pouille (16) v. Mikhail Kukushkin (-)
Pablo Carreno Busta (12) v. Nicolas Mahut (-)
Denis Shapovalov (-) v. Kyle Edmund (-)
Kevin Anderson (28) v. Borna Coric (-)
Paolo Lorenzi (-) Thomas Fabbiano (-)
John Isner (10) v. Mischa Zverev (23)
Sam Querrey (17) v. Radu Albot (-)
In the ladies section of the draw, the top seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic survived a tough three setter on Arthur Ashe stadium beating the American Nicole Gibbs 2-6,6-3,6-4 before Elina Svitolina, the fourth seed from Ukraine dispatched Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 6-4,6-4.
There were straight sets wins for the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, Americans Madison Keys, Coco Vandeweghe and Jennifer Brady, Shuai Zhang of China, Agnieska Radwanska of Poland, Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, and the Russians Elina Vesnina and Daria Kasatkina. Advancing in three sets were the Romanian Monica Nicolescu, Japan’s Naomi Osaka the conqueror of defending champion Angelique Kerber, and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
In what was the longest match lasting three hours and 33 minutes, the American Shelby Rogers upset the Australian Daria Gavrilova, seeded 25th, 7-6(6),4-6,7-6(5). The 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia also lost to Kurumi Nara of Japan in three sets. The eighth seeded Russian, age 32, lost 3-6,6-3,3-6 in two hours and seven minutes on the Grandstand court to her 25 year old opponent.