The five time former champion Roger Federer has advanced to the round of 32 on Thursday after completing a 7-5,6-4,6-4 win over the Frenchman Benoit Paire and set up a mouth watering third round match with the mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios on Saturday. They have been joined by the two time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia, fourth seeded German Alexander Zverev, 10th seeded David Goffin of Belgium and the 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan.
The Swiss superstar, a winner for five consecutive years from 2004 to 2008, had saved two match points at Halle against the Frenchman Benoit Paire. On Thursday on Arthur Ashe stadium, Federer took advantage of 47 unforced errors from the enigmatic Paire, while striking 27 winners of his own. Kyrgios, came from a set down to beat another Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6,7-6(6),6-3,6-0. Federer leads Kyrgios 2-1 in their head to head, with eight out of nine sets played between the two settled in tie-break.
The two time champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia seemed to be cruising in his evening session second round match against the American Tennys Sandgren 6-1,6-3,6-7(2),6-2. His next opponent is another Frenchman Richard Gasquet, seeded 26th, who beat Djokovic’s compatriot Laslo Djere 6-3,7-6(5),6-3. Another Frenchman, Lucas Pouille overcame Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-7(4),6-4,6-4,6-3. The 2014 champion Marin Cilic of Croatia cruised past the Qualifier Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2,6-0,6-0.
In a match involving two GenNext stars, the diminutive Australian Alex de Minaur beat the local hope Frances Tiafoe 6-4,6-0,5-7,6-2. The tenth seeded David Goffin of Belgium beat the Dutchman Robin Haase 6-2,6-7(1),6-3,6-2 and next faces the German Jan-Lennard Struff who beat the veteran Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-2,4-6,6-1,3-6,6-3. 13th seeded Diego Schwartzman beat the Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-2,6-0,5-7,6-2 and next faces the 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori who advanced when the Frenchman Gael Monfils retired with the scoreline 6-2,5-4.
It will be an all German match up between the fourth seeded Alexander Zverev and the veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber in the round of 32. Zverev, who is now coached by the legendary Ivan Lendl, a three time U.S. Open champion who reached a record eight consecutive finals between 1982-1989, was a 6-4,6-4,6-2 winner over Nicolas Mahut of France 6-7(1),6-3,6-2,6-0.
There were three minor upsets as the 14th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini fell to the Australian John Millman 1-6,6-4,4-6,1-6. Mikhail Kukushkin was 7-6(5),6-2,6-3 winner over the Korean Hyeon Chung, seeded 23rd. Joao Sousa of Portugal progressed after the 12th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, a semi finalist last year retired with the scoreline reading 4-6,6-3,5-7,6-2,2-0 in Sousa’s favour.
Following is the list of matches in the top half of the draw with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Karen Khachanov (27)
Guido Pella (-) v. Nikoloz Basilashvili (-)
Dominic Thiem (9) v. Taylor Fritz (-)
Kevin Anderson (5) v. Denis Shapovalov (28)
Juan Martin Del Potro (3) v. Fernando Verdasco (31)
Borna Coric (20) v. Daniil Medvedev (-)
John Isner (11) v. Dusan Lajovic (-)
Milos Raonic (25) v. Stanislas Wawrinka (-)
In the ladies section of the draw, the former champion Maria Sharapova of Russia prevailed over the Romanian Sorena Cirstea 6-2,7-5. However the former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark lost to the Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 4-6, 2-6. In an all American match up Madison Keys, seeded 14th triumphed 6-4, 6-1 over her compatriot Bernarda Pera. The 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia came from a set down to beat the local hope Taylor Townsend 4-6,6-3,6-4. Other winners included Katerina Siniakova and Marketa Vondrousova, Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia and the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
Earlier in the day, fourth seeded German Angelique Kerber, the Wimbledon champion, was a 6-2,5-7,6-4 winner over the Swede Johanna Larsson. Sixth seeded Kiki Bertens of Netherlands, Caroline Garcia of France, seeded sixth, Dominica Cibulkova and former two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic also advanced alongwith Naomi Osaka of Japan, seeded 20th. Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, seeded 26th beat the former Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-3,7-6(7), and Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus was a 6-2,7-6(3) winner over the 11th seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-2,7-6(3).
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]