Federer notches commanding first-round win at US Open

Roger Federer opened his bid for a sixth US Open crown with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Grega Zemlja in New York. It was his 65th win at Flushing Meadows.

"I felt great. It's great to be back in New York, there's no doubt about it. Day session or night session it doesn't really matter when you play on Arthur Ashe Court," Federer said in a courtside interview.

Federer had 12 aces, 35 winners, won 20 of 21 points at the net and committed just 16 unforced errors.

"I decided also to play aggressive. By doing that, didn't have many rallies," said Federer. "It was more of a serving contest, so there wasn't much rhythm out there, but I was happy the way I played overall. It's a first round after all. There was a bit of a breeze. Should have played at night. Played during the day. Overall I'm pleased to be in the next round."

The Swiss dominated proceedings, suffering just one mishap when he dropped serve in the eighth game of the third set. He quickly regrouped and broke Zemlja again in the 11th game before serving out victory. Federer is looking to reclaim the US Open title he won five consecutive times between 2004-08. It would be his 18th Grand Slam championship victory.

"You're going to have sonme hiccups like I had today. It was a minor one," Federer said. "I might have had more confidence if I had closed it out without that. This way I had to fight a bit more. Who knows? Maybe that gives me confidence too."

Federer wrapped up the first set in little over 25 minutes on Arthur Ashe, but was tested by the Slovenian Zemlja in the opening exchanges.

In fact it was not until the eighth game of that Federer found the all-important breakthrough; after saving his own serve with a stinging forehand winner, the Swiss capitalised on the momentum and forced Zemlja into a mistake.

After sealing the break of serve with a powerful forehand, Federer whistled through his game with ease to take the opening set.

The early pressure told, as Federer looked just as comfortable in the second. Impressive footwork saw the world No. 7 sail into a two-nil lead, completing the early break of serve with ease.

Zemlja had no reply as Federer completed the double-break before moving into a two set lead with another routine service game.

The pressure of playing the five-time Flushing Meadows champion looked to have taken its toll after two sets, but to his credit Zemlja did not completely crumble.

There were signs of a reaction; but two errors cost Zemlja a chance of a break when Federer looked beaten on his own serve midway through the final set.

Another error this time proved more costly; Zemlja sent a backhand volley into the net, gifting Federer the break for 4-3. However, concentration from the 17-time grand slam champion began to wane and he immediately let his opponent back in to level the scores.

Federer suddenly kicked back into gear, forcing his tenth break point as Zemlja hit long with his forehand. A sublime forehand of his own sealed the break for Federer, who wasted no time in serving out for the match.
Federer goes on to face Argentine Carlos Berlocq, who battled past Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-2. Federer won their one previous meeting, last year on clay in Rome. He said he knew Berlocq's game well, having trained with him in Rome and Madrid. "He's got good intensity, forehand and backhand," he said. "Can play on the baseline. He's actually really improved a lot on the slower hard courts. This is maybe a tiny bit faster. If we play at night, I think it might suit him a little better."

Date: 27th August 2013, Source: ATP and ESPN


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