Federer goes the distance again as five-setters abound at U.S. Open

A five-setter worked out pretty well for Roger Federer in his U.S. Open first-rounder against Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday night. So well, in fact, that he seemed to decide playing another one would be not such a bad idea.

It remains to be seen how 10 sets of tennis affects Federer the rest of the way, but for now the aforementioned idea has not been detrimental. Federer endured five more sets on Thursday night but managed to overcome Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a surprisingly competitive second-round affair. Perhaps plagued by a lingering back injury, Federer sent 68 unforced errors flying out of the court but also struck 63 winners to Youzhny’s 29.

In the end, it was a battle of which grizzled veteran would be the last one standing. Federer, 36, appeared to favor his back from sets two through five. Youzhny, 35, suffered from a leg cramp throughout the fifth. Federer, though, denied any physical problem.

“Good,” he said when asked about his back. “I’m better than the first round, so I’m happy. Yeah, this match wasn’t about the back–which is good. This is more just a grind. I felt different, completely different, the way it played and everything. But I’m really, really happy I got through.

“I might feel more tired than I normally would going into a third round, but that’s okay. My preparation hasn’t been good at all here. I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to but I’m still in the draw, which gives me a chance. I still believe I’m going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I’m not playing all that bad. It’s just that I’m going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match. Now I can just look forward to play tennis. With a bit of fatigue, that’s okay. I’ve done that hundreds of times. That’s not something I’m too concerned about.”

Federer-Youzhny top five plays:

Fatigue was a factor in other second-round matches, too. In fact, in the span of less than two hours, three five-setters were on display: Federer vs. Youzhny, Gael Monfils vs. Donald Young, and David Goffin vs. Guido Pella.

Monfils won a roller-coaster ride against Young 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5. A wild fifth set saw Young twice battle back from a break down, but Monfils delivered a clutch hold out of nowhere at 4-5 to stay alive. The Frenchman soon broke for 6-5 and delivered another routine hold to put himself across the finish line. Goffin also came within one game of defeat, as he scraped past Pella 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 6-3.


19 Comments on Federer goes the distance again as five-setters abound at U.S. Open

    • More likely I think is that Fed gets it together and starts to roll. I don’t think his back is seriously hurting or he would pull out.

      The other possibility, of course, is that age is well and truly starting to kick in. At his age, the decline can come quickly and just a little slip or inconsistency will tell at this level.

    • Ricky I guess you mean the end of real struggle and 5 sets matches? I think Fed played like that in the first 2 rounds because the lack of his usual preparation, combined with a bit of anxiety about his back, and I believe he he will be closer to that Fed we know. Probably RF in 4.
      I see him in QF at least.

  1. I disagree that it isbsurely the end of the line BUT it might be. Lopez can’t ask for a better chance to beat Fed than this. I personally think Fed grinds it out in four tough sets but I have a lot of doubt and uncertainty in that pick. Ricky you certainly could be right. Personally I remember thinking that Fed will surely lose next round when he was down to Youzhny but I thought some more and realized Fed has a 12-0 H2H and could improve his form next round.

  2. I don’t know. Yes, Fed is 36 and he’s played two five setters, but they have not been long physical matches. Fed’s still got his smarts. I don’t see Feli beating him – he’s NOT the most clutch player around. And, strangely enough, if Federer isn’t enjoying himself he’s giving a darn good imitation of it in the on court interviews.

  3. I think the old guy is done. Feli or Delpo or someone else will get him. I fancy Rafa’s chances too against Fed.

  4. This bottom draw is insanely open. Cilic is about to lose, leaving Isner as the highest seed.

    Interesting bottom half, can’t wait to see who makes the finals.

  5. With Cilic’s loss, we’re guaranteed a first time slam finalist.

    Who gets to the final will be interesting, but the match itself may not be all that great.

  6. I like R. Nadal and i respect his achievements but R. Federer is the best.

    You are right about E. Donskoy & Tommy Haas but Roger Federer destroyed R. Nadal thrice this year and is the best player this year, none can be compared 2 him, he has been incredible.
    Mark my words “Roger Federer will win #USOPEN and if he meets Rafito, he will defeat Nadal in 3 or 4 sets, i think he can do it in 3 sets”
    What do you think?
    Can Rafito win a set or win the match?

    I don’t think he can win the match but Rafa can win a set cos Roger can be generous at times, i hate it when he does that.
    Roger Federer is one of my favourites and i like Rafito too but Roger is AWESOME!

    Guy’s am a little busy so i might not respond quickly, i will write when am less busy.

    Native, plzzz stop agreeing with everyone that disagrees with me, that’s not cool, it’s disrespectful but more importantly it breaks my heart.
    If you disagree with me or have something to say to me, plzzz feel free to say it to me ok.
    Cordial disagreements are healthy and i will talk to guys later.

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