(New York) This time, Roger Federer wasted no time. The Swiss won in three sets for the first time this year at the US Open, defeating Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 to secure his ticket to the round of 16.
Federer, seeded third and five-time champion at Flushing Meadows, had lost the first run in his previous two games, but that was not the case against Evans, 58e global player. He scored 48 winners and 10 aces to easily secure the win, his 18e in a row in the third round of the New York tournament.
However, the story plays against him since no man has yet lost the first round of his first two games and then won the tournament. Federer is looking for a 21e Grand Slam title, which would improve his record in men.
"In the end, what's most important to me is that I'm in the fourth round. Even after these two slow starts, said Federer. I gave myself the opportunity to do better and that's what I accomplished. "
While greeting the performance of his opponent, Evans was disappointed with the time of the match. The Brit needed four sets to surprise the Frenchman Lucas Pouille, 25e seeded, Thursday.
"It would have been good if we played the second game of the day or played in the evening," said Evans. I do not know who's playing against Novak (Djokovic), but I guess we had to shoot with short straw and I lost. "
Federer's next opponent will be Belgium's David Goffin, 15e seeded, winner of a duel against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets of 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9), 7-5.
In the last match of the day at Arthur-Ashe Stadium, Djokovic, the tournament's favorite, was only a mouthful of the American Denis Kudla. The Serb triumphed easily 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
During his victory on Wednesday, Djokovic was bothered by a left shoulder injury, which also required the intervention of the trainer. The shoulder did not seem to annoy him against Kudla.
"I managed to play almost painlessly," said Djokovic. It's a big improvement. "
Djokovic will now face Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, Flushing Meadows champion in 2016. The latter defeated Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (4) to advance to the fourth round.
Add the name of Kei Nishikori to the list of seeded players who were eliminated in the first week on the men's board.
Nishikori, # 7 and finalist in New York in 2014, lost to Alex de Minaur, No. 38, 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. So there is only half of the first 12 seeds still in action. Others who have already packed up include Dominic Thiem, No. 4, Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 8, Karen Khachanov, No. 9, and Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 10.
There were still fewer seeds (15) than non-seeded players (17) to enter the third round, a first since 2001 at the US Open.
De Minaur, a 20-year-old Australian, who has won two tournaments this year, including last season's hard-fought Atlanta, dominated Nishikori in the baseline and took advantage of his opponent's 60 unforced errors .
In the next round, De Minaur will have an appointment with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Poland's Kamil Majchrzak in three sets of 7-5, 7-6 (8), 6-2.
Germany's Dominik Koepfer defeated Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili (No. 17) in four sets of 6-3, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1. He became the second qualifier to reach the round of 16 in New York in the last 10 years, joining Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who achieved the feat in 2017.
Koepfer will now have on his way the Russian Daniil Medvedev (No. 5), who overcame Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.