Federer eases through as storm rages over umpire pep talk
NEW YORK, United States – Roger Federer set up a US Open third-round clash against Nick Kyrgios who found himself at the center of an impartiality row after an umpire climbed down from his chair to tell him: "I want to help you."
Second seed and five-time champion Federer made it 18 wins in 18 second-round appearances in New York by seeing off error-plagued Frenchman Benoit Paire, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, on Thursday, August 30.
Federer, 37, will now take a 2-1 career lead over the combustible Kyrgios into their Saturday duel with all three of the pair's encounters having gone to three sets.
Kyrgios, 23, reached the third round by seeing off France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-0.
However, the match sparked a huge row after respected umpire Mohamed Lahyani lost patience with the under-performing 30th seed and climbed down from his chair to tell the Australian to try harder.
"I want to help you," Lahyani could be heard saying.
"This isn't you. I know that. You are great for tennis."
Herbert said that Lahyani had over-stepped the mark.
"The umpire doesn't have to talk to him at all. The only thing he can tell him is pay attention, because if you continue like this, I'm going to give you a warning," said the 27-year-old,
"They can tell him from the chair. He doesn't need to go down. He doesn't need to say the words he said on the video. That is not his job. I don't think he's a coach, he's an umpire."
Kyrgios played down the incident.
"He said he liked me. I'm not sure if that was encouragement," said the Australian, who won 19 of the last 25 games following Lahyani's unprecedented intervention.
"He just said that it's not a good look. I know what I was doing out there wasn't good."
US Open chiefs didn't help the matter by claiming Lahyani was forced to step from his chair as the crowd noise meant that Kyrgios could not hear him.
"Lahyani was concerned that Kyrgios might need medical attention," said tournament referee Brian Earley.
"He also informed Kyrgios that if his seeming lack of interest in the match continued, that as the chair umpire, he would need to take action."
Federer said Lahyani was wrong to get out of his chair to give Kyrgios a controversial pep talk.
"It's not the umpire's role to go down from the chair. But I get what he was trying to do. He behaves the way he behaves," said Federer.
"You as an umpire take a decision on the chair, do you like it or don't you like it. But you don't go and speak like that, in my opinion.
"I don't know what he said. I don't care what he said. It was not just about How are you feeling? Oh, I'm not feeling so well. Go back up to the chair. He was there for too long.
"It's a conversation. Conversations can change your mindset. It can be a physio, a doctor, an umpire for that matter. That's why it won't happen again. I think everybody knows that."
Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic turned back the challenge of American Tennys Sandgren to reach the third round .
Djokovic, winner of the title in Flushing Meadows in 2011 and 2015, defeated the 61st-ranked American 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2 and will meet either fellow Serb Laslo Djere or France's Richard Gasquet for a place in the last 16.
Djokovic saved both break points against him in the first set, and didn't face a break point in the second.
In the third however, Djokovic was suddenly struggling. More of the entertaining rallies went Sandgren's way as he broke Djokovic for a 3-2 lead.
Djokovic promptly broke back, and had a match point against the American's serve in the 10th game.
But he couldn't convert and it was Sandgren who seized control in the tiebreaker -- speeding to a 3-0 lead and claiming the set on his second opportunity.
Djokovic regrouped to take a 2-1 lead with a quick break of serve in the fourth set. He broke again for a 5-2 lead and clinched the win on his second match point when he patted a volley just out of Sandgren's reach.
Zverev downs lucky loser
German third seed Alexander Zverev made the third round for the first time in four tries after a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over French lucky loser Nicolas Mahut.
"I'm doing a lot of stuff different. I don't go out at all," said the 21-year-old who will next face compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Wimbledon women's champion Angelique Kerber kept her bid for a second US Open title on track, outlasting Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
"I think we both really played on a really high level from the first point," said 2016 champion Kerber who had led by a set and 5-2 at one stage.
Kerber will next take on 2010 quarterfinalist Dominika Cibulkova after the Slovakian beat Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4 despite being docked two points for returning late from a heat break.
Also progressing to the third round were French sixth seed Caroline Garcia who put out Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Belarus 26th seed Aryna Sabalenka continued her red-hot summer by seeing off 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6 (9/7).
Sabalenka, who won the New Haven tournament last week and reached the semifinals in Cincinnati, has made the third round of a Slam for the first time.
Later Thursday, former champion Maria Sharapova plays under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights against Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki, a two-time runner-up and reigning Australian Open champion, tackles Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine on the Louis Armstrong Stadium. – Rappler.com
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