NEW YORK: Roger Federer overcame his second consecutive sluggish start to defeat Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 yesterday and advance to the US Open third round.
World number 99 Dzumhur broke the five-times champion in his first two service games and raced out to a 4-0 lead before many in the crowd had found their seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which had its retractable roof closed due to rain.
Despite some shaky serving, the 27-year-old Dzumhur took the first set thanks to 17 unforced errors from the Swiss.
The tide shifted in the first game of the second set, however, when Federer saved a break point at 30-40 following a wild rally during which both players race from corner to corner before Dzumhur sent a forehand into the net.
From there Federer’s superior serving carried the day as he finished with 16 aces to the Sarajevo native’s two and thumped a rocket that Dzumhur could not return on match point to clinch victory.
Earlier, Japan’s Kei Nishikori fended off Bradley Klahn 6-2 4-6 6-3 7-5 in the second round as the 2014 Flushing Meadows runner-up continued his bid for a first Grand Slam title.
What appeared at the outset to be a routine match for the seventh-seeded Japanese turned into a surprise challenge from American Klahn.
After a tepid start, Klahn won all his first serve points in the second set and saved three of the four break point opportunities against him.
Nishikori, who reached the semi-finals last year and in 2016, broke Klahn to take the third set, switching the momentum back in his favour and dominating the longer rallies.
Inconsistency ultimately proved Klahn’s downfall as the 29-year-old committed 62 unforced errors in the match, 30 more than his opponent.
Nishikori, who had rued his lack of playing time after his first-round opponent was forced to retire, was joined by his usual crowd of excitable fans, shielded from the soggy conditions under Louis Armstrong’s retractable roof.
Rafael Nadal launched his tilt at a fourth US Open title late Tuesday night with a swift defeat of John Millman.
The Spanish second seed – US Open champion in 2010, 2013 and 2017 – needed barely two hours to see Millman off 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.