Five-time champion Roger Federer cruised into the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory against Sam Groth, while the women’s draw was shaken up by surprises earlier in the day.
Federer, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, needed one hour, 48 minutes to beat the 26-year-old Australian, who is ranked No. 104 and had never before faced a top-10 player. Federer has never lost in the second round of the U.S. Open and is now 24-1 in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
“I thought I did pretty well from the start,” Federer, 33, from Switzerland, said in a televised courtside interview. “I could have maybe been a bit better on my serve, but I thought it was an exciting match.”
In earlier play at the tennis season’s final Grand Slam, former women’s champion Venus Williams, second seed Simona Halep and sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber were eliminated. All 10 of the men’s top seeds are still alive, versus six of the women’s top 10.
Williams, who won in 2000 and 2001, fell to Italian Sara Errani with the tournament’s most unusual scoreline thus far - 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (7-5). Williams served for the match at 5-3 in the third, before Errani, the 13th seed, broke back.
The longest rally of the 2:01 contest - 27 shots - gave Errani match point. When she hit a forehand winner to end the match, she let out a long scream while pumping both fists in celebration.
“I tried to keep going, not thinking too much about the score,” Errani said in a televised courtside interview. “I was ready to just fight.”
Errani next will face qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, who beat Romania’s Halep 7-6 (8-6), 6-2. Halep had advanced to at least the quarterfinals in each of the first three Grand Slams of the season, including a loss in the French Open final.
Lucic-Baroni, 32, had lost eight straight matches until she came to New York, where she had to go through qualifying to make the U.S. Open. She now has won six straight matches, and today’s victory was her first against a top-five player since she beat No. 4 Monica Seles at Wimbledon in 1999. This will be her first time in the U.S. Open fourth round.
Men’s No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain advanced to the third round when Bernard Tomic defaulted with a hip injury.
Tomic, the 67th-ranked player from Australia, said that he had been battling the flu for 10 days leading up to the U.S. Open and that he began to feel pain in his left hip during his first-round match two days ago.
“I can’t afford to be on the court and play against David and cause much more pain to myself,” Tomic said at a news conference. “I can potentially make it 10 times worse, so for me it was best to not go on court today. It was a very difficult decision for me, but I had to do this.”
Ferrer, a 2012 semifinalist, next will play No. 26 Gilles Simon of France, who won in four sets against Federico Delbonis of Argentina.
Ninth-seeded Jelena Jankovic needed 58 minutes to top Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-0 and reach the fourth round, where she’ll meet Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, a 6-1, 7-5 victor against Germany’s Kerber.
Playing in her first U.S. Open, Bencic at 17 is the youngest player remaining in either singles draw. The fourth- round berth is already her best finish at a Grand Slam.
“It’s amazing that after last year I played juniors here, and this year I’m in the fourth round,” Bencic said after the match. “It’s incredible.”
No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark won 6-3, 6-2 against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, the 18th seed.
The women all played third-round matches today and the men finished the second round.
Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the men’s No. 6 seed; Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 7 seed from Bulgaria; No. 14 Marin Cilic of Croatia; No. 18 Kevin Anderson of South Africa; No. 19 Feliciano Lopez of Spain, and No. 20 Gael Monfils of France all won yesterday. No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain won in straight sets against American Tim Smyczek.
Russian Maria Sharapova, the No. 5 seed who won the tournament in 2006, closes play tonight against Sabine Lisicki, the No. 26 seed from Germany.