Nadal says it's noisy under US Open roof, despite changes

Solenn Plantier
Août 30, 2017

Roger Federer overcame a slow start, then a late lapse, and needed five sets to win a topsy-turvy first-round match at the US Open against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe.

Playing in his 90th US Open match, Federer started slowly under the roof and was broken in the opening game by the American, who was thriving more so than cowering on his Arthur Ashe Stadium debut. He missed the last few months of 2016, of course, due to a knee problem before winning in Melbourne, and he skipped the clay court season this year to maintain his health for Wimbledon-clearly a good decision considering the outcome.

But he bounced back to take the next two, 6-2 and 6-1 respectively.

Tiafoe converted a service break in the first game of the match and hurried through the first of five quick sets-the fifth was longest at 37 minutes-an apparent fickle finger of fate shaken at the third-seeded Federer. "America needs a tennis star".

Rafael Nadal has improved to 13-0 in U.S. Open first-round matches by beating Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-2.

But there would be another twist: The fourth set saw a recapitulation of the first, with Tiafoe returning to his blistering form, going on the attack, and leaving Federer flat-footed.

While many junior prodigies have come and gone, Tiafoe's unique background and work ethic set him apart from the rest.

"He's an aggressive baseliner like so numerous Americans". Federer has not made a first-round exit in a Grand Slam since the 2003 French Open and has never lost an opener on the NY hardcourts.

"We had a good fight", Federer said later.

"Honestly, if I would have felt like that going into this tournament that my back was going to get worse every match, I probably wouldn't have played". "I'm very happy for the match". But I feel a lot of support here from the crowd, so thanks. "I'd imagine I was playing against Rafa or Roger in the US Open, that those guys were just on the other side of the wall". Meanwhile, Tiafoe, a young American, will be hoping to score the biggest win of his career in front of his home fans.

"To get through five sets you have to be OK somehow".

The No. 1 seed dominated after a first set that lasted more than an hour.

"That would be a joke, if I won three slams this year out of nowhere", said Federer in July, looking ahead to Flushing Meadows. Her best major was this year's French Open, where she lost to Venus Williams in the third round. "Yeah, at some stage I nearly feel like I have to be realistic".

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