Federer wins, finds familiar company at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) - Now, the names opposite Roger Federer’s in the bracket will start looking more familiar.
Maybe uncomfortably so.
The five-time U.S. Open winner grinded down No. 13 Jurgen Melzer, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3, for yet another straight-set victory at Flushing Meadows on Monday night. Next up _ a meeting with one of the few players who has enjoyed success against both Federer and Rafael Nadal on the sport’s biggest stages.
He beat Federer at this year’s French to end Fed’s string of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances. Last year, Soderling notched a fourth-round victory over Nadal at Roland Garros that, coincidentally, simplified Federer’s path to finally complete the career Grand Slam. With Nadal out of the way, Federer’s opponent in last year’s French final: Soderling.
“I think it’s always a very nice feeling to play against the world’s best,” Soderling said. “It’s matches like that that you train for. It’s matches like that I’ve been dreaming of playing since I started playing tennis. You know, playing at the big courts in the big tournaments. It’s very fun.”
So far, Federer has been enjoying his stay at Flushing Meadows, where he has won 44 of his last 45 matches _ the only loss coming to del Potro in last year’s final. The second set of the Melzer match offered some perspective into how difficult it can be to break through against the player with a record 16 major titles.
After exchanging early breaks, the players held serve to play it out to a tiebreaker.
It was there that Federer, who doesn’t need any extra help, twice hit balls that dribbled off the net cord and over for winners. He also won a point after a replay that came when a bad line call nullified Melzer’s solid return of Federer’s serve. It added up to a 7-4 win in the breaker, and when he lost set point, Melzer looked skyward and screamed in frustration.
“I wasn’t happy with my fortune. Let’s put it that way,” Melzer said.
When they shook hands at the end, Federer apologized to him about the second-set tiebreaker.
“I think I deserved the second set,” Melzer said. “You couldn’t be more lucky in a tiebreaker than he was in this tiebreaker.”
Federer’s next matchup is against Soderling, whose victory over Federer at the French this year was the first in 13 meetings. The match came after a rainstorm, when the red clay at Roland Garros was moist and slow. Still, Federer knows, a win is a win.