Federer disarms big serving Groth to reach US Open third round

Roger Federer eased into the third round of the US Open on Friday evening, charging past one of the biggest servers in tennis, Sam Groth 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes. He fired nine aces, won 84 per cent of first serve points and broke serve in five of 11 opportunities.

The 33-year-old Swiss continued his quest for a sixth crown in Flushing Meadows, improving to 24-1 at night on Arthur Ashe Stadium and 18-1 lifetime against Australians in Grand Slam play. His only defeat came on major debut to Patrick Rafter at Roland Garros 1999. Federer is now a career 54-1 in Grand Slam second round matches, with his lone loss coming at Wimbledon last year to Sergiy Stakhovsky.

The Basel native, playing in New York for a 15th consecutive year, won his 51st match of 2014. He is the second-oldest player to claim 50 or more victories in a single season in the past 30 years, having achieved the feat with a first-round win over Marinko Matosevic on Tuesday.

Groth, the hulking Australian who holds the record for the fastest serve recorded at 163mph, threw everything he had at Federer - and the ball just kept coming back. He topped out at 147mph against the five-time former champion to no avail; one of his quickest deliveries of the night in the first set, a 142mph bullet down the T, flashed back past him before his feet had found the court.

"The 142, honestly I hit it and I turned around," said Federer.

"I didn't know if it went into the stands or the bottom of the net or on the other side. I just felt like I hit it clean.

"The 147 one I felt like I was there and felt like I had more control on it. The difference between 142 and 147, there's none really in the racquet. I think once you pass the 135 range everything is just really fast."

Federer, dressed all in black, took a few games to feel out his opponent before making the breakthrough to go 4-3 ahead, then held serve to take the first set.

The second set opened with the two men trading breaks, with Federer again gaining the upper hand and breaking Groth a second time to go up 5-4 and serve out for a 2-0 lead.

The 26-year-old Australian said he tried to focus on his own game and not get swept away by the crowd's support for Federer.

"To be honest, for me, I was trying not to get caught up in the whole Roger act out there," he said. "You walk out, you get a few cheers. He walks out and the crowd goes ballistic.

"So from the word go you know he's there. I was honestly just trying to focus on what I was doing.

"He's got an aura because of how good his tennis is. Yes, there's an aura because of what he's done, but his tennis speaks for itself.

"You don't win 17 grand slams if your tennis is not that good. I knew I was playing Roger Federer."

Groth, who watched compatriot Marinko Matosevic lose in straight sets to Federer in his opening match, dug deep in the third set, scratching out a 4-2 lead.

However, five-time champion Federer answered back with a break of his own and then raced through the next three games to seal the victory.

Federer will face Marcel Granollers for a spot in the Round of 16 after the unseeded Spaniard edged big-serving Ivo Karlovic 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and 51 minutes. Granollers overcame 31 aces, despite converting on just one of eight break points garnered. He trails Federer 0-2 in their ATP Head to Head series, falling in the Round of 16 in Dubai on two occasions (2011, '13).

Date: 30th August 2014, Source: Reuters and ATP


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