The world No.3 responded to his first dropped set of the tournament with a nine-game streak that swung the momentum firmly in his favour, wrapping up the match in one hour, 58 minutes to set up a last-16 clash with Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.
"It's been really excellent the last three matches here at the US Open," said Federer, his confidence high after a strong summer season. "I feel very explosive, quick. The coordination is there, as well. I feel like I've gotten used to the hard courts by now."
Less than an hour after Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova had taken a 10-minute heat rule break during their fourth-round encounter, the No.2 seed and his Spanish opponent were ushered from the Arthur Ashe Stadium court as tournament officials called for the stadium to be evacuated with lightning in the area.
Granollers hadn’t taken a set off Federer in their two previous matches but was determined to break that streak. He dropped just one point in the first three games of the match, stepped well inside the court to attack Federer’s second serve and thumped a return winner to break him in his opening service game. But with the No. 2 seed serving down 2-5, rain and lightning took the players off the court for two hours.
When play resumed, Federer immediately grabbed the break of serve back and it appeared that the ship had been righted. But with Federer serving at 4-5, Granollers produced his best tennis, hitting a lob winner to earn set point and lacing a backhand passing shot up the line to grab the opening set.
When Granollers earned a break-point opportunity in Federer’s opening service game of the second set, the fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium began to murmur at the makings of a potential upset. But Federer saved it with an ace and as day turned into night, the No. 2 seed began to find himself in familiar form. A huge forehand gave him an early break of serve against the Spaniard and then he broke once again with an outrageous forehand passing shot on the run to lead 4-1. Two games later, the Swiss maestro wrapped up the second set when Granollers sent a forehand long.
The third set picked up where the second set left off, as a backhand into the net from Granollers gave Federer an early break of serve. The Spaniard managed to hold serve down 0-3 and stop the streak of consecutive games lost at nine, but it did little to stop the Federer onslaught. Charging the net in an effort to shorten the rallies, Federer took control with another break of serve to go up, 5-1, and he easily closed out his next service game to wrap up the set.
Federer continued his one-way traffic in the final set, breaking Granollers once again in his opening service game. He hit a forehand volley winner on his third match point to wrap up the match after just under two hours of play.
"I was able to come back and turn it around, because Marcel started really on fire," 33-year-old Federer told the crowd. "I'm happy the break helped me and I came out and played some great tennis.
"Today conditions were much more humid so you could feel a little flat out there, but that wasn't the case. I was able to power through that. I'm happy I wake up every day and I'm ready to go. It's also great to see Robredo fit as a fiddle at the end last night. I thought that was impressive, too. He's my age, too. I think when you keep yourself in shape and train the right way, that's how you do it."
The 33 year old improved his major third round record to 51-4, winning 42 straight decisions since suffering a straight-set loss to former World No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros 2004. He also moved to 25-13 against Spaniards in Grand Slams.
Granollers, who was contesting his third US Open third round in the last four years, drops to 4-26 against Top 10 opposition. He was denied the 150th match win of his career.
Federer will look to reach his 39th quarter-final in his last 42 Grand Slam tournaments when he faces 17th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard is in the midst of his deepest run at US Open, and equals his fourth-round showing in Melbourne at the start of the season (l. to Dimitrov).
Date: 1st September 2014, Source: US Open, ESPN and ATP