Federer overcomes poor start to advance at rain-hit U.S. Open



NEW YORK, USA – Roger Federer shook off another slow start to defeat Bosnian Damir Dzumhur and reach the third round of the US Open on a rainy Wednesday, August 28 (Thursday, August 29, Philippine time) when showers wiped out most matches.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion struggled early but battled back to dispatch 99th-ranked Dzumhur 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 38-year-old Swiss 3rd seed, who also dropped the 1st set against Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal in his opener, answered the wake-up call after conceding the 1st set with 17 unforced errors.

"When it happens like this, back-to-back matches, it's just a bit frustrating more than anything, especially when the level is that low and there is that many errors and the energy is not kind of there," Federer said. "But can only do better, which is a great thing moving forward.

"I didn't expect to hit 15 to 20 unforced errors, which is basically the entire set just sort of donated... I clearly have to play better from the get-go."

Five-time US Open winner Federer, who lost to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in last month's epic five-set Wimbledon final, broke early in each of the last 3 sets and held serve to advance.

"I buckled down and told myself I was going to hang tough and not get broken and that made a big difference," Federer said.

"I'm not concerned. I just need to take the positives out of it, because once I lose that 1st set I do get better, which is a good thing."

Next in Federer's path is the winner between French 25th seed Lucas Pouille and Britain's 58th-ranked Dan Evans.

While play continued indoors at Ashe and Louis Armstrong, 22 second-round singles matches on outer courts were postponed by rain to Thursday, including matches involving Russian 5th seed Daniil Medvedev, coming off a title at Cincinnati, and three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

Nishikori, Pliskova win 

Japanese 7th seed Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, eliminated 108th-ranked American Bradley Klahn 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Nishikori, who could face Federer in the quarterfinals, stumbled after seizing a 5-1 edge in the final set.

Klahn saved a match point in the 7th game, another in the 10th before holding to level at 5-5 and two more in the final game before finally falling when he sent a backhand long.

"A little bit of lost focus after 5-1," Nishikori said. "He started playing better too."

Next in Nishikori's path will be either Australian Alex de Minaur or Chilean 31st seed Cristian Garin.

Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, seeking her first Grand Slam title, ousted 202nd-ranked Georgian qualifier Mariam Bolkvadze 6-1, 6-4.

"It was a solid performance," Pliskova said. "I didn't have to play the best today."

Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up, will next face either Tunisia's Ons Jabeur or Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Pliskova must reach the last 8 to have a chance at becoming world No. 1 after the Open. Defending champion Naomi Osaka and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep must win the title, while Barty has the inside track thanks to Osaka defending more points.

Also advancing was Ukrainian 5th seed Elina Svitolina, who beat seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4, and US 10th seed Madison Keys, who downed China's Zhu Lin 6-4, 6-1. – Rappler.com