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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Roger Federer
There is one certainty among many possibilities offered by the World Cup draw Friday: Most teams want to be in Switzerland's group.
Nadal leads Djokovic 22-16 in their head-to-head record, but the Serbian won their latest encounter last month in Beijing after losing his top ranking to the Spaniard.
Djokovic, undefeated in last year's Finals, improved to 2-0 in Group B with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over the hard-hitting Juan Martin del Potro. Federer, who lost to Djokovic earlier in the week, easily defeated Richard Gasquet.
Just nine months after returning from his career-threatening injury, Nadal became the first player to hold, lose and regain the year-end No. 1 spot twice by beating Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) at the ATP finals. Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl did it once in their careers.
Nadal improved to 60-3 with nine titles this season. His total of 13 major trophies ranks third in the history of men's tennis, behind only Roger Federer's 17 and Pete Sampras' 14.
Nadal and Djokovic will meet Monday in their third final at Flushing Meadows in the last four years, the only break coming last year when Nadal was out with a knee injury.
Third-seeded Murray won his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows last year and his second at Wimbledon this July. But he was overmatched from the beginning on a blustery day in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The words he spoke after his surprisingly straightforward 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4 loss to 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain made it sound as if Roger Federer is having doubts about his game.
Roberta Vinci will face a fellow Italian in the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the second straight year.
The last man from the United States left is Tim Smyczek, a 25-year-old from Milwaukee who got into the main draw thanks to a wild-card invitation from the U.S. Tennis Association.
It was never a contest, with fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta going up a break in the first game and finishing off Errani in 1 hour, 11 minutes.
The 2011 Wimbledon champ beat 92nd-ranked Misaki Doi of Japan 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday at the U.S. Open. She has never made it past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
The Swiss great needed just 93 minutes to beat Grega Zemlja in straight sets. Federer defeated the 62nd-ranked Slovenian 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in a matchup postponed from Monday night because of rain.
There was a turn-back-the-clock feel to Day 1 at the 2013 U.S. Open, when both sisters were about as good as can be, dropping a combined four games in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Defending champion Andy Murray could face top-seeded Novak Djokovic only in the U.S. Open semifinals, while Nadal and Federer — who have never played each other at Flushing Meadows — might meet in the quarterfinals.
"I struggled to stay consistent enough throughout the match, and that's why he deserved to win" Federer said. "This game is a game of making or missing your opportunities. Today was a little bit more of that, again."