Federer ranks shot among most memorable
NEW YORK, United States – Roger Federer's shot heard round the US Open – a jaw-dropping forehand around the post in a straight-sets win over Nick Kyrgios – ranks as one of his most memorable, the Swiss great said.
"It was definitely one of the more unique ones," said Federer, who raced forward and wide on a sharply angled shot from Kyrgios, stretched and flicked a forehand around the post on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
Kyrgios's eyes widened in astonishment as the ball landed in his court and could be heard opining at the ensuing changeover "That's got to be the greatest shot in tennis."
Federer said it was all instinct – it's not a shot that can be practiced.
"You don't get an opportunity to hit around the net post very often, because in practice the net is out further and the court is more narrow.
"For a shot like this to happen in a practice, you will will be running into a fence and you will hit it into the net.
"These shots can only really happen on a big court where you play with the singles posts in the doubles alley."
Kyrgios, already two sets down and deflated after squandering a rare chance to break Federer in the first, quipped that he should post some pictures on Instagram.
"I was trying to tell him that the shot wasn't that good," he said. "No, it was almost unreal."
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, said the shot ranked right up there with some of the most memorable of his career, in a group with his smash off a smash by Andy Roddick at Basel in 2002 and a lob flicked over Andre Agassi on break point in Dubai in 2005.
Another one for the scrapbook: a between the legs effort against Novak Djokovic at the US Open in 2009.
"I think it was 6-5, Love-30, it was just a big-time moment in the game, which obviously always matters as well," Federer said.
"Definitely a bit of luck and good feet," Federer said of the shot that denied Kyrgios a game point – although the Australian would go on to hold for 4-3 in the third set.
Federer had the luxury of a two-set lead when the duo's most entertaining exchanges thrilled the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
Things would have been much different if Kyrgios could have converted one of four break points in the seventh game of the opening set.
"I think if he breaks there he probably runs away and wins that first set," Federer said. "He came out firing a lot of aces and feeling good."
But Federer escaped, breaking Kyrgios to pocket the first set and dominating the second.
"He's an unbelievable frontrunner," Kyrgios said. "When he gets in front, there's not much you can do."
Federer will be seeking a 13th appearance in the US Open quarterfinals when he plays Australian John Millman, who reached the last 16 of a major for the first time with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.
Kerber, Zverev toppled
The third round was the end of the line for men's and women's fourth seeds from Germany – Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber.
Kerber, the 2016 US Open winner tying to become the third woman in the last 20 years to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season, was bundled out by Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Zverev, the 21-year-old sensation who has lifted titles in Munich, Madrid and Washington this year and reached finals in Miami and Rome fell, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to veteran compatriot Philippe Kohlschreiber.
It was another Grand Slam disappointment for Zverev, touted as the youngster most likely to end the major dominance of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.
Kohlschreiber will seek a quarter-final berth against 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori after the Japanese downed Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.
Kerber's defeat followed the early exits of world number one Simona Halep and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki – who were both also seeking a second Grand Slam title of the year.
Kerber didn't blame a domino effect for her departure.
"I just try to go my way, I'm not looking around who was winning or who was losing," said the German, who was at a loss to account for a bad day at the office.
"You have sometimes days where you are trying everything, but it's not really working as you wish," she said.
Cibulkova, the 29th seed, moves on to face 2017 finalist Madison Keys, who shook off a slow start to beat Serbian Aleksandra Krunic 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France also departed, beaten 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) by Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, and Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova sprang a surprise, too, with a 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 7-6 (7/1) victory over 13th-seeded Belgian Kiki Bertens.
Suarez Navarro, seeded 30th, next faces 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, who defeated 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2.
Vondrousova, through to a Grand Slam third round for the first time, will play Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, who defeated Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-0 after taking out Wozniacki in the second round. – Rappler.com
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