US Open: Roger cruises, Murray struggles, Hewitt bids adieu
Five-time champion Roger Federer strolled into the US Open third round on Thursday as fellow old-timer Lleyton Hewitt bid farewell in trademark, fighting style. On a dramatic day which saw a record created for the longest women’s match, and a new Grand Slam high for retirements from the men’s tournament, Andy Murray escaped his earliest exit in 10 years when he came back from two sets down to make the last 32.
World number two Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion, needed just 80 minutes to rout Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
The 34-year-old Swiss star, who was <g data-gr-id="33">champion</g> from 2004-2008 and runner-up in 2009, goes on to face German 29th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. Federer has lost just nine games in the first two rounds, his fewest in 16 appearances.
“Very often I started this tournament quite strong. It’s always gone quite well for me,” said Federer.
“I’ve always enjoyed conditions here, the balls, the speed of the court, the atmosphere in the arena. It’s always worked very well for me.”
Third seed and 2012 champion Murray came back from two sets down to defeat tiring Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Murray goes on to face Brazilian 30th seed Thomaz Bellucci for a place in the last 16.
“It was extremely tough. He hits the ball really flat, has fantastic timing on both sides and it was hard to read the ball in the first two sets,” said 28-year-old Murray.
Murray, who had needed four sets to beat Nick Kyrgios in the opening round, fired 21 aces -- the last of which was on match point -- while Mannarino was undone by 61 unforced errors.
Former world number one Hewitt, the champion in 2001, made a dramatic farewell battling from two sets down and having two match points before losing to fellow Australian Bernard Tomic on a rocking Grandstand court. In his final match in New York, the 34-year-old fell 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 7-5 after three hours and 27 minutes after his 57th career five-set match.